Arsene Wenger and Jose Mourinho
London: There has been a telling absence of mind games between Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger and his Manchester United counterpart Jose Mourinho ahead of today’s encounter between the teams.
Arsenal-United games used to be furious, season-defining epics, while Wenger’s relationship with Mourinho has crackled with animosity for much of the past 13 years. But with both sides struggling to secure a top-four finish in the Premier League – and eyeing silverware elsewhere – the order of the day ahead of the contest at the Emirates Stadium has been contrition.
I am a big boy: Mourinho
“He doesn’t need to make peace,” Mourinho said when told that Wenger had expressed willingness to bury the hatchet with him. “I am a big boy. I’m in football all my life. I know a problem on the pitch the next day is not a problem at all.” Mourinho has never tasted defeat against Wenger in 12 league games and the Arsenal manager may not get many better opportunities to alter that.
A big game for Arsenal
Arsenal may yet finish the season with a trophy, as they will face Chelsea in the FA Cup final on May 27, but they are running out of time to avoid a first season outside the Champions League in 20 years. “Of course every big game boosts your confidence,” said Wenger.