LONDON (REUTERS) - Chelsea manager Antonio Conte took a swipe at Jose Mourinho's tactics on Monday by accusing his Manchester United team of trying to kick tricky forward Eden Hazard out of their FA Cup quarter-final at Stamford Bridge.
Hazard survived the onslaught and helped Chelsea run out 1-0 winners in a prickly game, with United reduced to 10 men in the 35th minute when Spaniard Ander Herrera received a second yellow card.
"We came to play football... but for 25 minutes, it was impossible for Eden Hazard to play, because he was kicked," Conte told reporters.
"It could be a tactic. I think everyone saw this... Sometimes when you play against a player with a good talent, you try to intimidate this player," the Italian added. "I think that the referee must protect this type of player."
Conte, chided by his predecessor Mourinho for celebrating too wildly after the fourth goal of Chelsea's 4-0 Premier League drubbing of United last October, said he controlled his emotions during Monday's tie.
But the pair squared up on the touchline in the first half after a series of crunching tackles on Hazard and the fourth official had to stand between them. Referee Michael Oliver paused the game to tell the two manaagers to calm down.
London rivals Tottenham Hotspur await Chelsea in the semi-finals.