LONDON — Following Arsenal’s 1-0 win against Chelsea in the Community Shield at Wembley Stadium on Sunday, Arsene Wenger and Jose Mourinho had the opportunity to shake hands but the two managers pulled away.
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With Wenger beating Mourinho for the first time in 14 attempts, the duo let their bitter feud get in the way as both tried to brush off the incident in their post-match press conferences.
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First up, Wenger was asked if some of Mourinho’s comments in the past, such as him being a “specialist in failure,” their touchline spat at Stamford Bridge last season and his comments on Arsenal’s transfer policy, led to no embrace between the managers.
“I shoke a few hands today after the game. There’s nothing special there. That’s it,” Wenger said. “I believe in a job where you have to respect people and respect everybody. It’s a difficult job. I think it is vital that manager’s respect each other.”
As for Mourinho, he stood and shook the hands of every Arsenal player as they walked up to collect their winners medal, and was unperturbed by what he considered a snub from Wenger with the Arsenal boss walking behind him.
“Well I was doing what the status of my club and my status as a manger, I think what I have to do for myself and my club which was to be there for the winners and wait there for them at a point that if you want to miss me, you will miss me,” Mourinho said with a grin. “It was the easiest thing to do because I was just there. If other people didn’t come in my direction, that is not a problem. That is not a story. That is not the end of the world. No more comments on that. I did my job. The job my club deserves me to do and my status as a manger.”
Wenger’s side were defensively sound as they sat back and soaked up Chelsea’s pressure following Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain’s stunning first half goal which turned out to be the winner, but Mourinho accused the Gunners of abandoning their philosophy.
“It depends on the perspective because normally you [the media] like to say that the team who defends very well doesn’t deserve to win and I have to go in your direction and say the best team lost and the defensive team won,” Mourinho said. “But I also have my opinion. My opinion is that the team that defends very well and the team that leaves their philosophy in the changing room and changes their philosophy and leaves 10 players behind the ball and play the whole second half with nine players in front of the box. This is football, this is very good tactical organization. In that perspective they scored one goal, they deserved to win.”
But the last word should be reserved for Wenger, as he finally got the monkey off his back and beat Mourinho, with many observing that the Frenchman beat his Portuguese rival at his own game: defending solidly and being opportunistic in attack.
“I must honestly say that it didn’t play on my mind at all. As long as I get it served every time in press conferences it can have an impact on the team,” Wenger said. “Certainly the way my team behaved during some periods in the game, it helped. It was important for them to get that hurdle out of the way.”