Coyle and Allardyce slam two-faced Wenger
Bolton and Blackburn managers upset at Arsenal boss’s suggestion their teams are overly physical
Having dealt a ruthless blow to Braga in the Champions League on Wednesday, Arsene Wenger found himself under attack from Blackburn and Bolton on Thursday.
The Arsenal boss, still basking in the glory of Arsenal's 6-0 thrashing of Braga, came in for some fierce criticism from managers Owen Coyle and Sam Allardyce, neither of whom appear to appreciate the art of French diplomacy.
Owen Coyle is still spitting tacks following Bolton's 4-1 drubbing at the hands of Arsenal last Saturday - a game in which Gary Cahill was sent off for a dangerous tackle - and he didn't take kindly to Wenger's public assertion that Paul Robinson should also have seen red for taking out Abou Diaby.
Talking to reporters, Coyle accused Wenger of being two-faced for the manner in which he expressed his dissatisfaction at the Robinson tackle.
"I understand if people say things after games when a player gets injured, we all do that," explained Coyle. "I have no problem people having things to say. But if I am there, say it to my face... I sent Arsène a text after the game to apologise for missing him as we had to catch a train back north. He sent me back a text saying we were a very good team."
And Coyle brushed off Wenger's allegation that his Bolton side are overly physical, pointing out that Arsenal didn't hold back in the bruising encounter.
"Maybe Arsenal know they were in a really tough game and that is a compliment," smiled Coyle, adding: "I could say Kieran Gibbs should have been booked and then sent off for going into the back of Kevin Davies. I like to think we have endeavour, commitment and quality."
Coyle's censure of the Arsenal manager was echoed by Blackburn boss Sam Allardyce, who accused the Frenchman of setting out to manipulate the media to his own advantage.
"Arsène has most of the media in his pocket now and is almost - almost - affecting the officials so that you can't tackle an Arsenal player," raged Allardyce. "That's something he's very clever at working on and it's almost working in his favour, you can see that."
Allardyce and Wenger have clashed before on the issue of Blackburn's physical approach to the game but 'Big Sam' has raised their mutual antagonism to a new level by alleging the Arsenal boss is trying to curry favour with officials.
"He's a very, very clever man in terms of influencing referees, officials and everybody in football," added Allardyce. "There is a perception that we kick everybody and Arsenal's motivation is that you can't tackle us as you aren't supposed to. In terms of saying people are trying to injure players, he's trying to influence, through the media, the referees - and that's something they shouldn't get sucked in to." ·