Antonio Conte has already started the mind games with Jose Mourinho and Manchester United after claiming Chelsea will not be favourites in the FA Cup final.
Chelsea sealed their spot in the Wembley showpiece yesterday by beating Southampton 2-0 with goals from Olivier Giroud and Alvaro Morata.
They will meet United on May 19 but Conte said: ‘We played last season in the final and arrived as favourites against Arsenal. This season, we are arriving not as favourites.
Antonio Conte believes Chelsea will be underdogs in the FA Cup final with Manchester United
‘But, as you know very well, we lost the final despite being favourites in my mind.
‘With Jose, we have clarified the situation. There is not a problem between him and I. This final is a game between two great teams: Manchester United and Chelsea.
‘We are talking about two managers with strong characters, and two winners. I have great respect for United’s story, for Mourinho’s story. They have the same respect, I think, for Chelsea’s story and my story.’
Southampton manager Mark Hughes, meanwhile, was puzzled as to why the Video Assistant Referee system was not used, despite it being available at Wembley.
Chelsea sealed their place in the FA Cup final for a second successive season on Sunday
Olivier Giroud races away in celebration after scoring the first goal against Southampton
The Saints felt they scored a legitimate goal when Willy Caballero spilled the ball under pressure from Charlie Austin. A handball in the box by Giroud then went unpunished.
‘The goalkeeper’s made a wrong decision, basically thrown the ball into the back of his net,’ Hughes said. ‘If ever there was a situation for VAR to play a hand and step in to review that, I would have thought that was an opportunity. It was a match defining moment, a key moment.
‘Who knows how the game might have followed from that moment? Why it wasn’t referred, I have no idea. Giroud handled from the following corner, another they could have reviewed.
‘We’re disappointed with the officials on the day, and whoever it is who sits in a darkened room.’
Mark Hughes believes Southampton scored a legitimate goal that would’ve changed the game