Arsene Wenger has had a little pop at sections of the press for the way they stoked the fires between himself and Jose Mourinho down the years.
We’re all aware of how it would go. It was a simple formula:
- Ask Wenger a vaguely controversial question in a press conference
- Take his honest answer
- Twist that answer
- Present it to Mourinho in his own press conference
- Watch sparks fly
- Write up that juicy back-page headline
It was as tedious as it was unimaginative, and although the Arsenal manager admits his relationship with Mourinho has been difficult, he’s not less a section of the press pack off the hook either.
Speaking to Soccer Saturday on Sky Sports, he said, “It has been, like with Ferguson, very tense like always when you fight together, but overall it is respectful.
“I must say as well it is very difficult when you play against fellow managers, they get reported things that you have not necessarily said.
“In press conferences, they say ‘Wenger said that’ even if it is taken out of context and you then get people who are upset or vice versa.
“It is very difficult to keep it calm and quiet, but over the distance the respect always takes over. Do you know why?
“We all suffer defeats, we all suffer disappointment and we all know that we suffer a lot.
“You always have respect for people who suffer, unless you are completely not human at all.
“You have to feel empathy for people who are in the same job as you.”
While Arsenal are expected to rest a number of key players ahead of the trip to Madrid on Thursday, it would be nice to see Wenger’s final game as Arsenal manager at Old Trafford – and against Mourinho – end with a with an unlikely win.