Arsene Wenger v Jose Mourinho: The history of their rivalry in quotes
Last Updated: 03/08/15 9:28am
It's fair to say Jose Mourinho and Arsene Wenger have never quite seen eye to eye...
The reluctance of the two managers to shake hands following Arsenal's 1-0 win over Chelsea in Sunday's Community Shield is the latest evidence of the frosty feeling between the pair.
"I shook a few hands today after the game, but there's nothing special there," said Wenger afterwards. "I believe in a job where you have to respect people and respect everybody."
"You only miss me when you want to miss me," concluded Mourinho after the match before accusing Arsenal of "leaving their philosophy in the dressing room".
Sunday's Wembley triumph was Wenger's first victory over his rival in 14 attempts, but when it comes to the verbal slanging match and even the pushing and shoving, the Frenchman has been determined to give us as good as he gets.
Here we recall their rivalry in quotes, dating back to Mourinho’s first season in English football…
“I don't see especially that Chelsea play more English players than we do. Who have they produced, homegrown? Just one, John Terry.” – Wenger in 2005 when quizzed on Arsenal’s all-foreign line-up.
At the beginning of the following season in August 2005, Wenger also expressed concerns over Chelsea’s tactics: “I know we live in a world where we have only winners and losers, but once a sport encourages teams who refuse to take the initiative, the sport is in danger.”
Mourinho was unimpressed. “Wenger has a real problem with us and I think he is what you call in England a voyeur. He is someone who likes to watch other people. There are some guys who, when they are at home, have a big telescope to see what happens in other families. Wenger must be one of them – it is a sickness. He speaks, speaks, speaks about Chelsea.”
Wenger has a real problem with us and I think he is what you call in England a voyeur. He is someone who likes to watch other people.
Mourinho on Wenger
Wenger responded with a put-down of his own. “He’s out of order, disconnected with reality and disrespectful. When you give success to stupid people, it makes them more stupid sometimes and not more intelligent.”
And more from Mourinho… “At Stamford Bridge, we have a file of quotes from Mr Wenger about Chelsea football club in the last 12 months – it is not a file of five pages. It is a file of 120 pages.”
When Mourinho departed Chelsea in September 2007, the rivalry was put on hold but that didn’t stop the pair trading criticism of each other from further afield.
“The English like statistics a lot,” said Mourinho in 2008. “Do they know that Arsene Wenger has only 50 per cent of wins in the English league?”
When Mourinho was in charge at Real Madrid and Xabi Alonso and Sergio Ramos got booked for tactical reasons against Galatasaray in order to serve suspensions for a comfortable second leg rather than risk missing important games later in the tournament, Wenger had plenty to say.
“When you see how it looks on television it is the best demonstration to think: ‘Never do that again’. It looks, frankly, horrible. It’s a pity to see that from a big club.”
Again, it only succeeded in sparking a fiery response from Mourinho… “Instead of speaking about Real Madrid, Mr Wenger should speak about Arsenal and explain how he lost 2-0 against a team in the Champions League for the first time. The history about the young kids is getting old now. Sagna, Clichy, Walcott, Fabregas, Song, Nasri, Van Persie, Arshavin are not kids. They are all top players.”
After a cordial start upon Mourinho’s return Chelsea, Wenger was unimpressed when Juan Mata was sold to Manchester United – a move that he argued could distort the league table given that the Blues had played their final game against United the previous week while rivals still had to play them.
“Chelsea have already played twice against Man United, they could have sold him last week. I think if you want to respect the fairness for everybody, this should not happen.”
And the response… “Wenger complaining is normal because he always does. Normally he should be happy that Chelsea sold a player like Juan Mata, but this is a little bit his nature. I think what is not fair is that his team always has the best days to play.”
He’s out of order, disconnected with reality and disrespectful. When you give success to stupid people, it makes them more stupid sometimes and not more intelligent.
Wenger on Mourinho
In February 2014, just a few weeks later, Wenger was asked why some of Arsenal’s fellow title hopefuls were so keen to downplay their ambitions. “It is fear to fail,” he said.
Mourinho delivered a memorable monologue in reply. “Am I afraid of failure? He is a specialist in failure. I’m not. So if one supposes he’s right and I’m afraid of failure, it’s because I don’t fail many times. So maybe he’s right. I’m not used to failing. But the reality is he’s a specialist because, eight years without a piece of silverware, that’s failure.”
After a decade of verbal insults, the rivalry finally escalated physically in October 2014 when Wenger shoved Mourinho during an argument on the touchline at Stamford Bridge.
“In hindsight I think I should not have reacted at all,” said Wenger. “It’s not a way to behave on a football field. Did Mourinho provoke me? That is how I felt. I did not enter Chelsea’s technical area.”
And when it was suggested to Mourinho that his Arsenal counterpart could be charged… “Charged? If it was me it would have been a stadium ban.”
Last April, Chelsea ground at a goalless draw at the Emirates Stadium to close in on the Premier League title for the first time since Mourinho's return to the club, prompting chants of "boring, boring Chelsea" from the Arsenal fans.
But the Blues boss had some stinging words in response: "You know, boring I think is 10 years without a title. That's very boring. You support the club and you're waiting, waiting, waiting for so many years without a Premier League title, so that's very boring. But maybe they aren't singing to us."
And even before a ball had been kicked at Wembley Mourinho was at it again, arguing that Wenger did not deserve his reputation as a thrifty spender and was trying to "buy the title" for Arsenal.
"If you add up the amounts clubs have spent in the last three or four years I think maybe you will find a surprise. If you put Ozil plus Alexis Sanchez, plus Chambers, plus Debuchy, you will find a surprise. Get a calculator. That is the easiest thing, it leaves no space for speculation. If you want to be honest, objective and pragmatic it is the easiest job for a manager to do."