Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger praises 'classy' Manchester United after pre-match presentation
By Oliver Yew
Last Updated: 30/04/18 9:39am
Arsene Wenger praised "classy" Manchester United after he was presented with a commemorative gift by Sir Alex Ferguson ahead of Arsenal's 2-1 defeat at Old Trafford.
Wenger, who will leave Arsenal at the end of the season, was making his final trip to Old Trafford as Gunners boss and old rival Ferguson welcomed him with a warm embrace, handing him a piece of silverware as a gesture for his 22 years in English football.
Wenger and Ferguson were then joined by current United boss Jose Mourinho, as three of the Premier League's most successful managers posed for photos near the dugouts at Old Trafford.
And Wenger, who also received a warm reception from the Manchester United fans as he walked from the tunnel to his seat in the dugout, was grateful for United's pre-match gesture.
"[It was] very nice," the Frenchman told Sky Sports.
"It was just another game for me but I'm very grateful for the gesture from Manchester United. It was very classy of them and you enjoy it.
"Apart from that I've come here for a long, long time and next year somebody else will sit on the bench and he'll get a very hostile reception, don't worry."
When asked about being flanked by Ferguson and Mourinho, he added: "It's a bit surprising because they're not always as you'd imagine, but it shows as well that life goes always on. Sometimes it gets better."
Wenger's afternoon eventually ended in disappointment after Marouane Fellaini's stoppage-time header secured Manchester United a 2-1 victory.
In what could prove to be Wenger's final duel with old foe Mourinho, substitute Fellaini headed home to secure the home side's victory after former United playmaker Henrikh Mkhitaryan had cancelled out Paul Pogba's opener.
Despite the defeat, Wenger thought his much-changed side gave a very positive performance for such a young team.
"It was a positive performance and overall it reflects a little bit our away season," he said. "We had chances, especially on counter-attacks.
"We did not always use well the opportunities we had but overall the team performance was positive for such a young team.
"It was very positive but of course they are very disappointed in the dressing room because they gave everything. In the last 20 minutes you could see some players were not used to that kind of intensity and pace and we looked a bit more under threat. In the first 70 minutes we didn't look really in danger at all."
Arsenal made eight changes with an eye on Thursday's crucial Europa League semi-final second leg at Atletico Madrid and man-of-the-match Ainsley Maitland-Niles and Konstantinos Mavropanos, who made his first appearance for the club, caught Wenger's eye.
"Both of them did well," he said. "The central defence did well today and Maitland-Niles as well.
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"It's good to see them in such a strong atmosphere and see who has the courage to play, who can win challenges. We know their level but here you discover what they can do in the competition and that was interesting.
"Overall, I must say it's difficult to find a bad performance in our team but we have a bad result."