The Jose Mourinho Chronicles: Mourinho Feuds with Arsene Wenger

Mourinho vs Wenger
Our ongoing series of lookbacks at the funniest, controversial & greatest moments of the Chelsea legend.

FEBRUARY, 2005

Wenger defends his decision to field an all foreign squad against Crystal Palace:

Take what Arsenal and Chelsea have won in the past eight years. I go with reality, with the football we play and the challenge we have ahead. I don’t see especially that Chelsea play more English players than we do. Who have they produced, homegrown? Just one, John Terry.

12 March 2005

On John Terry’s declaration that their aim next season was to go through the season unbeaten.

To come out with ambitious statements is good, but to fulfil them is much more difficult.
There’s nothing wrong with having a dream. The difference is that at Chelsea it is still a dream – at Arsenal, it is a reality.

On Ashley Cole “tapping” controversy

This case is very sad and very unfortunate because you expect your neighbours in the same city with that power not to behave like that. I am convinced that a meeting did take place – although that has not been confirmed.

June 2005

Wenger criticizes Chelsea for tapping up Ashley Cole, calling on Roman Abramovich to show greater moral leadership at the club.The Football Association had called on both clubs to end the spat or risk charges of bringing the game into disrepute.

12th August 2005

There had been suggestions from Wenger, both before and after the Community Shield match between the clubs in August 2005, that Chelsea merely profited from long balls to the striker Didier Drogba. The criticism first surfaced following last season’s Champions’ League victory over Bayern Munich.

Frank Lampard hit back at that time saying that he believed Chelsea had got “under the skin” of the Arsenal manager, Arsène Wenger, and that the players had laughed off suggestions that they were a long-ball team.

18th August 2005

After losing his 500th match to Mourinho (Chelsea’s first league victory in 10 years over Arsenal) courtesy to solitary Drogba goal, Wenger hit at Jose’s cautious approach –

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.

October 2005: On Arsenal’s penalty farce

You have to wonder why they did that penalty. Because they have so many penalties in the season, that’s why. They have to do something special and different.

31 October 2005: Mourinho hits back

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. He speaks, speaks, speaks about Chelsea. He’s worried about us, he’s always talking about us – it’s Chelsea, Chelsea, Chelsea, Chelsea. I don’t know if he wants my job – he loves Chelsea.

Mourinho was infuriated by Wenger’s decision to comment about Chelsea’s 1-1 draw at Everton last Sunday and their Carling Cup loss to Charlton on penalties in midweek. Wenger disputed Mourinho’s remark that Chelsea had not lost against Charlton because they went out in a penalty shoot-out.

When you are out of the cup you lose.

Wenger, who is regularly asked about Chelsea in his pre-match briefings, invariably offers an opinion. He was widely reported to have said that the Premiership champions would have lost “the big belief” after those setbacks, while he in fact said “a little bit of the belief has gone”. He also claimed it brought “a little hope” for those hoping to overhaul the Stamford Bridge outfit at the top of the table after their sensational start to the season.

It bothers me because the guy is speaking all the time. We never speak about them. You can do it when you are top and you have a big morale. When you are on game number 11 and you still can’t win away from home, and when you are without Thierry Henry and he can’t win a game, he should be worried about them.

I might be worried if my team made a defensive mistake. I shouldn’t be worried about what Arsenal did at Tottenham. They are always speaking about the other families.

You have to speak about opponents and other things and put some pressure on and pass the message but when you are doing it every time in the same direction … They need to work and try to improve.

1st November 2005

I find it out of order, disconnected with reality and disrespectful. I will see if I take any action. I don’t know yet but I will leave that door open. I don’t know what I said that was malicious.

I was asked a question about Chelsea and gave my honest answer, just like I expect any other manager to do when he is asked about Arsenal.

2nd November 2005

When you give success to stupid people, it makes them more stupid sometimes and not more intelligent.

We have a file of quotes from Mr Wenger about Chelsea in the last 12 months – it is not a file of five pages. It is a file of 120 pages, so we have a very strong reaction. More

3rd November 2005
The Football Association were reluctant to take any formal disciplinary action against Arsene Wenger and Jose Mourinho. The FA contacted Arsenal and Chelsea, hoping the managers could draw a line under their row before it got out of hand.

4th November 2005

If the apology is at the same time – if he is ready to apologise from Highbury about quotes and quotes and quotes and quotes about Chelsea, I am ready to do the same,” Mourinho said. “But of course it’s not a personal thing. Of course the intention was not to hurt the man, the human being – of course not.

“Respect I have [for Wenger],” Mourinho said, “for the human being because he is a successful man and nobody helped him to arrive where he has arrived, so I have to respect that. As a manager it’s the same; he did very good things. But I think [he has made] too many quotes about Chelsea.

“Some hard, like for example that one about moral leadership. Some funny, like for example he said: ‘I only won one Premiership, I cannot win two in one year.’ But I think it’s enough. It’s good for me and good for him. I have problems to solve in my club because I lost a game and I want to do better. He has problems to solve in his club because he is not doing as well as they need to in the Premiership. So it is better for us to forget this.”

6th November 2005

Arsene has shown difficulty understanding his life has changed. He is trying to deflect the truth about the rise of Chelsea. Wenger is a great coach and an intelligent person but he is having difficulty continuing the success which made him, with all merit, a top manager.

I admit it can’t be easy, but then he gets to have a go at us. I’m the one who is famous for being a disturber but I stick to doing my work.

26th  November 2005

Have you seen the price of lawyers in England? They say ‘Hello’ and it’s £100,000 before they shake your hand. I just wanted to see how it was perceived. I had to choose between my holidays and the case.

He suggested action might not have been taken even if the fees were lower.

“For me the intention behind the statement is important and I came to the conclusion – and I hope I am right – that there was nothing planned or malicious behind it. That’s why I want to focus on the future, the good of the team and not look back and waste my energy with a negative attitude with things that will not disturb my sleep.

I can’t let people say anything about me without a reaction. I didn’t speak to him. I don’t know what I would do if it did happen again but I would consider every situation separately. You can either take action or forgive.

I think it’s a sensible and intelligent decision. He knows my feelings about the situation. I want to finish with it and hope he does the same in relation to us. It’s the best way.

18th December 2005
Chelsea beat Arsenal by 2 goals. Arsene Wenger said that the referee was on Chelsea’s team and said the title race was over for Arsenal.

24th December 2005
In an interview in men’s magazine FHM, however, Mourinho appeared to offer an olive branch to his rival, saying he regretted using the word voyeur.

For sure. I do not want to hurt him like I did. If I could go back I would say ‘Hey, it’s time to stop talking about Chelsea, go to your corner and speak about your team. But I wouldn’t say what I said about him that hurt him. I didn’t intend that. If I could go back and change it then I would.

Mourinho was reportedly upset that Wenger had not responded to a personal apology he had sent in a Christmas card.

For his part Wenger denied that he had snubbed Mourinho on Sunday, saying that card, or no card, he was happy to put the incident to rest.

I appreciated the sentiment in the card, it was an apology but I had no pre-conceived ideas or special resentment. Once I said it was over, it’s over. And if the card had come in or not it would not have changed the way I feel about the situation. We didn’t blank anybody… I’d never talk to a rival before a game. This card has been treated like a CIA bomb.