Neil Humphreys: Whiny Conte winning over few fans
Chelsea coach's complaints about his problems not helping a team slipping into trouble
Jose Mourinho finds himself in unusual territory. He occupies the moral high ground.
Obviously, it won't last. Over the weekend, the Manchester United manager will invariably defend his insufferable brand of anti-football and the rest of the world will roll their eyes once more.
But as it stands, he's right about Antonio Conte.
The Chelsea boss can't stop complaining. His belief that his problems are bigger than his rivals' makes him sound self-absorbed.
After a perplexing 3-3 draw with Roma yesterday morning (Singapore time), Conte struggled to shake his self-pity.
Injuries had forced him to play David Luiz in central midfield, he said. The Brazilian scored the opener, ran around more than a conventional centre back and limped off in the second half with a calf knock.
Injuries had Conte scowling before, during and after the Romans picked up a worthy point at Stamford Bridge.
Injuries had the Italian "crying" about his predicament, to paraphrase Mourinho's sarcasm. The United boss insisted he didn't "cry and cry and cry" about his injury list.
Mourinho didn't name names, but he didn't have to. The inference was clear. Conte does keep grumbling, so much so that his long-term career plans are seemingly no longer in doubt.
He won't be around next season, according to popular opinion among Chelsea punters and press alike.
Considering the charismatic and likeable manager lifted the title just six months ago, the widespread pessimism about his future is depressing, quite frankly.
Nevertheless, his constant complaining does grate.
Chelsea kicked off against Roma with Pedro Rodriguez, Antonio Ruediger, Willian and Michy Batshuayi on the bench, a tidy bunch of Champions League and EPL winners and established internationals.
Despite the absence of N'Golo Kante, Victor Moses and Danny Drinkwater, the Blues surely boasted the strength in depth to preserve a two-goal lead at home.
They certainly had enough in the locker to defeat a Crystal Palace side without a win - or even a goal - to their name before the two sides met at Selhurst Park last Saturday.
But they didn't. Instead, Conte was out-thought by Roy Hodgson, of all people, which is like Muhammad Ali being sucker-punched by the rope-a-dope strategy of Ronald McDonald.
The greatest clubs are entitled to an off-day. But it's two colourless performances in a week for the Blues, who are now looking for their first win in four games against Watford tomorrow.
Questions can be asked of Conte, particularly at a club that gleefully sacks trophy-winning coaches at a moment's notice.
Luiz's selection in central midfield, for instance, was a bit of a head-scratcher. His distribution and possession were not an issue, but the hole he left in defence certainly was.
Aleksandar Kolarov had too much space for Roma's first goal and Edin Dzeko had a free header for his third.
Despite his clownish reputation, Luiz brings a calming influence to those around him. Cesar Azpilicueta, so dependable last season, now epitomises Chelsea's defensive uncertainty.
The Spaniard lost Palace's Wilfried Zaha last weekend and misplaced Kolarov before Roma's opener.
Last season, Chelsea's back three laid the foundation for their assault on the title. This time around, a jittery vulnerability eats away at their confidence.
Indeed, Luiz's midfield selection smacks of a Conte protest, one of those subtle digs he takes at the club hierarchy when things are not going his way.
Like wearing a scruffy tracksuit when he wasn't getting the signings he wanted, Conte's strange 3-5-2 line-up and personnel felt like a toddler sticking the bottom lip out because he hasn't got as many toys as the other kids.
Even then, his injury list hints at a degree of culpability on his part.
Kante, Moses and Alvaro Morata have all gone down with recent hamstring tweaks. Drinkwater and Luiz have calf stains.
Why are so many Chelsea footballers being stretched, quite literally, to breaking point? It's only October. The fight on four trophy fronts usually takes its toll in the New Year.
Conte's famously intense training sessions were seen as a major factor in Chelsea's dramatic renaissance last season. But if they're expected to run through the proverbial brick wall every morning, perhaps it's no surprise they can't get through 90 minutes on match day.
Or maybe Conte's shopping list really was ignored and he'll lodge his final protest when he quits after the campaign.
Either way, he's got to swop the whining for winning or he won't make it to the end of the season.