Mour­inho can't re­sist an­other dig de­spite United’s loss to Gun­ners

New Straits Times - - Sport - LON­DON

MANCH­ESTER United man­ager Jose Mour­inho stoked the em­bers of his ri­valry with Arse­nal coun­ter­part Arsene Wenger af­ter his side’s dam­ag­ing 2-0 de­feat at the Emi­rates Sta­dium.

Sec­ond-half goals by Granit Xhaka and United alum­nus Danny Welbeck earned Arse­nal vic­tory on Sun­day as Wenger over­came Mour­inho in a Pre­mier League game for the first time in 13 at­tempts.

Mour­inho had claimed that “peace” reigned be­tween him­self and Wenger prior to the game, but he ques­tioned the French­man’s poor record against him af­ter­wards and ac­cused him of putting un­fair pres­sure on the fourth of­fi­cial.

“Arse­nal fans are happy and I’m happy for them,” said Mour­inho, whose side had been un­beaten in 25 league games.

“It’s the first time I leave High­bury or Emi­rates and they’re happy. I left High­bury, they were cry­ing. I left the Emi­rates, they were cry­ing. They were walk­ing the streets with heads low.

“Fi­nally to­day they sing, they (wave) their scarves. It’s nice for them.

“It’s a big club. You think I en­joy a big club like Arse­nal not win­ning big tro­phies? I’m not en­joy­ing that. But to­day I tried to win.

“Arsene Wenger is not a small man­ager. He’s a big man­ager. To have that record of win­ning so many matches (against him) and not los­ing is some­thing that is not nor­mal. Nor­mal is win, lose, draw. It’s not nor­mal.

“I re­ally don’t care about it. And to­day, no prob­lems. We shook hands be­fore the game, we shook hands af­ter the game.

“And dur­ing the game I didn’t like what I never like: he puts too much pres­sure on the fourth of­fi­cial all the time.”

In fur­ther digs, Mour­inho ac­cused Wenger — mis­lead­ingly — of play­ing with a “de­fen­sive block” and “a line of five de­fend­ers.”

Ad­dress­ing the press be­fore Mour­inho, Wenger had played down the sig­nif­i­cance of his first league vic­tory over the Por­tuguese.

“We have had many draws as well and there were some fan­tas­tic teams that we played against,” Wenger said. “It is not man­ager against man­ager.”

Wenger was also in sar­cas­tic mood, but in his case he was talk­ing about the penalty that Liver­pool were awarded — and squan­dered — in their goal­less draw at home to Southamp­ton ear­lier on Sun­day.

The day’s re­sults en­abled Arse­nal to close to within seven points of third-place Liver­pool, on whom they have two games in hand, be­gin­ning with to­mor­row’s trip to Southamp­ton.

“We still have a chance math­e­mat­i­cally and we need some help as well from teams around us,” Wenger said.

“I watched the (Liver­pool) game and I’ve seen the penalty given by the ref­eree (for a hand­ball by Jack Stephens). It was very nice.”

United are two points above Arse­nal in fifth place, hav­ing played a game more, and now trail fourth-place Manch­ester City by four points. AFP

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