'I hope Wenger keeps his job at Arsenal' - The words you thought you'd never hear from Jose Mourinho
Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho has urged Arsenal to stand by their under-fire manager Arsene Wenger - and just for once his words of support for his old foe are sincere.
Mourinho and Wenger have been embroiled in a nasty and bitter feud that dates back to 2004, yet it seems the experiences of the last 18 months have allowed the coach now in charge of Manchester United to sprinkle some perspective on his perception of the Arsenal boss.
Wenger is under huge pressure to step down as Arsenal manager as his side struggle to secure a top four finish in the Premier League, yet he has found a highly unlikely ally in the shape of Mourinho.
After taunting Wenger for a decade a more over his lack of success at Arsenal, the United manager has offered up these conciliatory words ahead of his latest meeting with the Gunners boss at Emirates Stadium on Sunday.
“The truth is that I hope Wenger keeps his job at Arsenal, I really do,” stated Mourinho.
“I hope that the club trusts him to make things better.
“I think that Arsene is probably the last example of a manager who brings stability to a club over such a long time.
“Sir Alex Ferguson was the same at United and he was able to leave when he knew it was time to leave. I hope that it is the same with Wenger.
“I feel sympathy for other managers because we live through the same pain. All of us.
“Football has changed. Now it is a game that makes it ¬impossible for managers to stay in their position for a long time.
“Football now means if you don’t get success, then you are gone – so, yes, I feel bad for other managers.
“When you are at one club for 20 years, it is impossible to have success every single year. Even Sir Alex will tell you that.”
Mourinho has often been criticised for his persistent snipes at Wenger down the years and he has also bee criticised for the style of football he has promoted in his first season as United manager.
Yet he has insisted his reputation is not his biggest concern ahead of a game when he has threatened to rest some of his star names ahead of next Thursday's Europa League semi-final against Celta Vigo.
“I don’t care what people think about me,” he added.
“I think this has been a good season and it can still be a very good season.
“In terms of my work, I think this has been about rebuilding a team and rebuilding a club.
“For me, it has been” ¬positive process. What people on the outside say doesn’t matter.
“It’s not important to me ¬because I know the work that we have done this season.”