Jose Mourinho’s extraordinary finals record and more FA Cup talking points

1. The Portuguese coach and Antonio Conte let bygones be bygones.

Jose Mourinho and Antonio Conte clearly were not on the best of terms not so long ago.

The ill feeling between the two became so strong last January that Mourinho said he will never be “suspended for match-fixing”.

The quip was an obvious reference to the controversy that saw Conte receive a four-month suspension while managing Juventus, dating back to his stint at Siena, when he failed to report an incident of match-fixing.

Despite Mourinho’s suggestions to the contrary, the Italian boss in 2016 was cleared by a court of any wrongdoing.

FILE PHOTO - (EDITORS NOTE: COMPOSITE OF TWO IMAGES - Image numbers (L) 589474814 and 602356360) In this composite image a comparision has been made between Manager of Manchester United and ex-Chelsea manager, , Jose Mourinho and Antonio Conte manager of Chelsea.   Chelsea and Manchester United meet in the Premier League on October 23, 2016 at Stamford Bridge,London.     ***LEFT IMAGE*** BOURNEMOUTH, ENGLAND - AUGUST 14: Manager of Manchester United Jose Mourinho looks on during the Premier League match between AFC Bournemouth and Manchester United at Vitality Stadium on August 14, 2016 in Bournemouth, England. (Photo by Michael Steele/Getty Images) ***RIGHT IMAGE*** SWANSEA, WALES - SEPTEMBER 11: Antonio Conte manager of Chelsea looks on prior to the Premier League match between Swansea City and Chelsea at Liberty Stadium on September 11, 2016 in Swansea, Wales. (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)© Getty FILE PHOTO – (EDITORS NOTE: COMPOSITE OF TWO IMAGES – Image numbers (L) 589474814 and 602356360) In this composite image a comparision has been made between Manager of Manchester United and ex-Chelsea manager…

The argument had escalated, after the Portuguese coach effectively called Conte a “clown” for his actions in the technical area.

“I think he has to see himself in the past — maybe he was speaking about himself in the past,” Conte replied, while using the phrase “demenza senile,” which translates as senile dementia, in reference to Mourinho.

Yet the pair appear to have let bygones be bygones.

Soccer Football - Premier League - Manchester United vs Watford - Old Trafford, Manchester, Britain - May 13, 2018   Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho after the match   REUTERS/Darren Staples    EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications.  Please contact your account representative for further details.© Reuters Soccer Football – Premier League – Manchester United vs Watford – Old Trafford, Manchester, Britain – May 13, 2018 Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho after the match REUTERS/Darren Staples EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No …

Speaking ahead of this weekend’s cup final, Conte, in relation to previous rows with Mourinho, told reporters:

“This is not important, what happened [in the past].

“There is a relationship between me and him [Mourinho]. Tomorrow I will shake his hand and both of us will think of the game.”

a man standing in front of a football game: Romelu Lukaku Manchester United.© EMPICS Sport Romelu Lukaku Manchester United.

2. Can Lukaku return to haunt his former club?

It’s been an interesting season for Romelu Lukaku. In the league, he has scored 16 goals in 34 appearances, which is by no means a bad return (his Everton season-by-season record reads 15, 10, 18, 25), while he managed 32 goals in all competitions this campaign.

Yet it still feels as if he hasn’t been fully embraced at Old Trafford so far.

There has even been some criticism from a section of the club’s support for the striker. Back in October, Jose Mourinho said:  “I would like the supporters to explain to me why they don’t support him so much because he gives everything and I think it is not fair when scoring the goal or not scoring the goal makes the whole difference.”

Soccer Football -  FA Cup Semi-Final - Manchester United v Tottenham Hotspur  - Wembley Stadium, London, Britain - April 21, 2018   Manchester United's Romelu Lukaku celebrates their first goal   REUTERS/David Klein© Reuters Soccer Football – FA Cup Semi-Final – Manchester United v Tottenham Hotspur – Wembley Stadium, London, Britain – April 21, 2018 Manchester United’s Romelu Lukaku celebrates their first goal REUTERS/David Klein

Perhaps it is to do with the fact that, despite his impressive overall goalscoring feats, Lukaku has struggled to impress during several big games since joining the Red Devils.

He has only scored once against any of the sides in the top seven this season — in United’s 2-1 win over Chelsea back in February.

Yet should the striker win his fitness race for this weekend’s fixture, a decisive goal would surely go some way towards quashing the reservations certain fans still seem to have about the 25-year-old player.

COBHAM, ENGLAND - MAY 18: Antonio Conte of Chelsea during a training session at Chelsea Training Ground on May 18, 2018 in Cobham, England. (Photo by Darren Walsh/Chelsea FC via Getty Images)© Getty COBHAM, ENGLAND – MAY 18: Antonio Conte of Chelsea during a training session at Chelsea Training Ground on May 18, 2018 in Cobham, England. (Photo by Darren Walsh/Chelsea FC via Getty Images)

3. Can Chelsea overcome United and cup final specialist Mourinho?

The bookies have Man United as slight favourites for Saturday’s match.

In addition to their superior Premier League form, a big reason for the majority of people tipping a United victory is Mourinho’s incredible record in cup finals.

The Portuguese coach’s style of football is not always particularly attractive to watch, but there are few managers in world football that are more reliable at winning one-off games.

Since guiding Porto to victory over Martin O’Neill’s Celtic in 2003, Mourinho has won 12 of the 14 cup finals he has been involved in.

His pragmatic approach to these encounters may not earn him the kind of accolades that managerial rival Pep Guardiola has been receiving amid Man City’s scintillating season, but there is no doubting its efficacy.

SOURCE: Thejournal.ie

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