Wenger claims bragging rights in feud with 'silly' Mourinho
Arsenal boss brands Chelsea rival 'embarrassing' as feud reopens ahead of title run-in
HAVING seen off Liverpool on Sunday afternoon, Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger turned his fire on Chelsea rival Jose Mourinho as he described comments the Portuguese made about the Gunners as "embarrassing", stoking the flames of a feud that dates back to 2005.
Last week Mourinho branded Wenger a "specialist in failure", when he made reference to Arsenal's failure to win a trophy for eight seasons, commenting: "If I did that in Chelsea I'd leave and not come back to London."
When asked for a reaction after Sunday's game against Liverpool, Wenger was at his icy best. He described the comments as "silly and disrespectful" and added: "The only thing I know is it's more embarrassing for Chelsea than for me. I'm embarrassed for him, honestly... I love football - and I'm sorry to disappoint you - what's interesting for me is what happens on the pitch."
The two managers first fell out in 2005, when Mourinho responded to criticism of his transfer policy by calling Wenger a "voyeur". Now, once again, they are at daggers drawn.
Mourinho went on the attack on Friday after interpreting a comment from Wenger about managers who rule themselves out of the title race as a sly dig at his own team.
He renewed his attack in the wake of Chelsea's exit from the FA Cup after a 2-0 defeat to Man City on Saturday. Realising that Wenger would be asked about the first comments Mourinho got his retaliation in first and declared: "I don't accept that one is always 'Monsieur polite' and the other one is always the bad guy."
There is more to the feud than personal animosity says The Guardian. "Mourinho seems intent on escalating a squabble between the pair in a bid to get under Wenger's skin as the Premier League title race reaches its climax". However, it adds that Wenger "projected... weary disdain" in his response.
Not everyone agrees on the nature of Wenger's reaction, though. The Daily Mail says Wenger was "passionate defence of his record at Arsenal", while The Times calls it a "withering response".
Most papers appear to agree that Wenger's verbal punches hit their target and that he is currently ahead on points. But, as the Times notes, "Wenger was speaking from a position of strength" as Arsenal's win gave him "temporary bragging rights" over Mourinho.
The Chelsea manager's next press conference later this week could be explosive.