As reported by French channel Canal+, Arsene Wenger has clapped back at Jose Mourinho in their latest war of words. If you missed it earlier this week, Wenger omitted Mourinho from his new autobiography, and Jose said it was because the former Arsenal boss never beat him (untrue – Wenger beat him a couple of times). (Perhaps Jose has shares in the publisher and is just doing his bit for PR.)
Getting into the spirit of things, Wenger would not let this lie. When asked about Mourinho’s dig, instead of offering a wry “no comment”, he said:
It does not upset me. With him [Mourinho] its constant provocation. I feel like I am at kindergarten, but that is part of his personality.
And it is false, we beat him (two out of 19 times). We won, and there were also a lot of draws… And it is not ‘you’ who wins, you participate in the victory. It is ‘we’ who win. The manager is there to get the maximum out of the team.
Provocation, kindergarten… ah, now this feels more like the spiky Premier League of old. The English game today is missing a cracking feud between managers – instead we get manufactured stuff like Jose v Lampard, when really those two still love each other, or Klopp v Lampard, which is tame by comparison. The likes of Arteta and Solskjaer just wouldn’t resort to stuff like this.
Wenger is right of course. Mourinho is the ultimate wind-up merchant, although he definitely has mellowed.