The Frenchman offered a pithy assessment of the Portuguese’s attitudes after he snubbed him in his book, while opening up on interest from Real Madrid
Arsene Wenger has responded to Jose Mourinho’s comments about the former Arsenal supremo’s autobiography, stating that the latter’s attitude of “permanent provocation” makes it feel like he is dealing with a particularly unruly kindergartener.
Wenger joined Arsenal from Nagoya Grampus Eight in 1996 and oversaw a two-decade tenure at the helm during which he guided the club to perennial top-four status in the Premier League, winning three titles along with numerous other major honours.
Having taken time away from the managerial hotseat since he stood down at the Emirates Stadium in 2018, the 70-year-old released his autobiography My Life in Red and White earlier this month, detailing his long tenure with the club among other things.
Yet while the book touched upon Wenger’s famed rivalry with Sir Alex Ferguson, as well as their subsequent post-retirement friendship, Mourinho is noticeable only by glaring omission.
Quizzed earlier in the week about his absence from the pages, Mourinho chalked it up to having got the better of the Frenchman throughout their managerial career together, pointing to his superior record on-field as his reasoning.
“You are not going to do a chapter about 12 or 14 matches and never win one so why should he speak about me in his book?” he stated. “A book is a thing to make you happy, to make you proud so I understand perfectly the situation.”
Wenger however has been left unruffled by the Tottenham manager’s comments, singling out his response for its perceived pettiness and inaccuracy while acknowledging that such ripostes are part and parcel of the Portuguese’s general nature.
“It doesn’t bother me,” he told Canal+. “It is permanent provocation. I feel like I’m in kindergarten with him. But, that’s part of his personality.
“It’s wrong, we beat him twice. We won, and there were also a lot of draws. And it is not ‘you’ who wins, you only participate in the victory. It is ‘us’ who win. The manager is there to get the most out of a team.”
Wenger also touched on speculation that he had been courted to leave Arsenal for Santiago Bernabeu during his career, confirming the rumour while noting that he elected to stay in North London following his achievements there.
The Frenchman revealed that he twice turned down an offer to leave the Gunners to take charge at Real Madrid but rebuffed them on both occasions in order to remain with the club who helped transform into a powerhouse of British football.
“Yes, I have refused them twice,” he added. “But I was in a perspective [to] what I had undertaken. We had built the stadium, and we had to pay.”