Chelsea boss Antonio Conte says he was “not mocking anyone” after appearing to antagonise Jose Mourinho in Manchester United’s 4-0 defeat at Stamford Bridge.
Conte encouraged Blues fans to make more noise in the closing stages, with reports claiming Mourinho told the Italian at the final whistle that his actions had “humiliated” United.
But Conte said: “I’ve been a player too and I know how to behave.
“I always show great respect for everyone, including Manchester United.”
Goals from Pedro, Gary Cahill, Eden Hazard and N’Golo Kante ensured Mourinho’s first return to Chelsea since he was sacked last year ended in bitter disappointment.
Mourinho, 53, received a relatively warm welcome at Stamford Bridge, although the match ended with the Portuguese boss seemingly having harsh words with Conte.
The 47-year-old Italian had urged the home fans to raise the noise levels in appreciation of his team’s performance – because he could only hear the travelling United fans.
Reports in the Italian media claimed Mourinho told Conte: “You don’t celebrate like that at 4-0, you can do it at 1-0, otherwise it’s humiliating for us.”
Neither manager confirmed what was said in their post-match media conferences.
“There was no incident, it was just a normal thing to do. I wasn’t mocking anyone, I wouldn’t do that,” said Conte.
“Today it was right to call our fans in a moment when I was listening to only the supporters of Manchester United at 4-0.
“The players, after a 4-0 win, deserved a great clap. It’s very normal.
“If we want to cut the emotion we can go home and change our job.”
Mourinho apologises to United fans
United were aiming to go above their hosts into fifth with a victory at Stamford Bridge, but were instead left to reflect on their heaviest Premier League defeat since the 6-1 drubbing by Manchester City in October 2011.
It was also the heaviest defeat for Mourinho in all competitions since Real Madrid’s 5-0 defeat by Barcelona in November 2010.
United conceded after just 30 seconds when Chris Smalling’s hesitation allowed Pedro to score the opener, with Cahill adding another 20 minutes later before second-half strikes from Hazard and Kante sealed an easy victory.
“To the millions of fans we have around the world they have a bad feeling and I am so sorry for that,” said Mourinho.
“I have to apologise as the leader of the dressing room and the only thing I can say is I’m 100% Man Utd, not 99% for Man Utd and 1% for Chelsea.
“I feel deeply the situation but there is only one answer, training on Monday and keep fighting.”