Tue | May 22, 2018

Wenger avoids Mourinho 'war'

Published:Saturday | September 24, 2016 | 12:00 AM

Arsene Wenger has refused to be drawn into a war of words with old adversary JosÈ Mourinho after it was claimed the Manchester United boss once wanted to "break his face" during his time on the Chelsea bench.

Wenger said he was totally focused on today's Premier League match against Chelsea and would only talk about football matters when the quote taken from Mourinho's biography was put to him at yesterday's press conference.

Wenger and Mourinho have had quite a few clashes while the latter was coach of Chelsea.

Mourinho, book which was serialised in the Daily Mail, outlines alleged conversations with a football journalist and includes a mention of an angry exchange surrounding Wenger which reportedly ended with Mourinho saying: "I will find him one day outside a football pitch and I will break his face."

"Look, I haven't read the book and I certainly won't read it," Wenger said.

"I cannot comment on that. I talk about football and that's all I do. I'm not in a destructive mode, ever. I'm more constructive and I cannot comment on that because I'm focused on tomorrow's (today's) game and how we want to play football.

"I have no personal problem with anybody, I respect everybody in our game and I don't feel I comment a lot on other teams. Sometimes I just say what I think, but that is part of the way I am," Wenger added before looking forward to today's game which will be his first contest again new Chelsea boss Antonio Conte.

"Honestly for me it was always just a big game and an important game, and the personal rivalry that you suggest existed stronger before was never, in my head, a concern," he added.

"What is always important is it's a big game. Chelsea in the last 10 years had very, very strong teams. You realise that today as well. Before that period, we were always beating them, after they were always the stronger team for a few years.

"Now, it looks like it's a new era where it's a bit more balanced again and we feel we are progressing at the moment so we have a good opportunity to grab and to change what I call 'the inconvenient facts' of the recent years."