The Thug of war between Jose Mourinho and Arsene Wenger continues this weekend, as both managers renew their rivarly in a must-win game for United.
While the Portuguese has generally had the upper hand on the pitch over the years, both managers have had exchanged words for each other in the press room.
Here we recall their most explosive rivalry in quotes, dating back to 2005.
In August 2005, Wenger 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 and his response was Epic!
“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 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 until his return to Stamford Bridge in 2013.
Wenger fired the first shot 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.”
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.”
“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.”
After a fiercely-contested match at Stamford Bridge, which included Gabriel being sent off after a clash with Diego Costa, Wenger criticised referee Mike Dean and went unpunished by the FA, leading to this outpouring from Mourinho:
“In this country, only one manager is not under pressure. Every other manager is. We cannot be below par. We have to meet the objectives. There is one outside that list, but good for him. You know who.
“The one who can speak about the referees before the game, after the game, can push people in the technical area, can moan, can cry in the morning in the afternoon, nothing happens. He can not achieve, keep his job, still be the king. In the rule book it says some managers can speak about the referees before and after games. Some others cannot. I am in the list of those who are punished if they speak about the referees.”
Following Mourinho’s move to Manchester United, he wasted little time before apparently aiming another dig at his French rival.
Questioned about his poor 2015/16 season at Chelsea and what that had done to his reputation, Mourinho said:
“There are some managers, the last time they won a title was 10 years ago, the last time I won was a year ago. If I have something to prove, imagine the others! To finish 4th is not the aim.”
Mourinho was also less than impressed by Wenger’s criticism of the world record transfer fee United paid for Paul Pogba. The Arsenal boss had called the £89m outlay “completely crazy”.
Mourinho hit back:
“When I heard some of the comments and heard some of the managers criticising that, I don’t think they ever have this problem because to have this problem, you need to be at one of the top clubs in the world. At Manchester United, it can happen.”
There are sure to be more cutting comments from both men, ahead of their eagerly anticipated meeting at Old Trafford on Saturday.
Source: SkySports/BBC Sports