Friday 30 September 2016

Wenger plays down Mourinho hoodoo

Published 31/07/2015 | 22:37

Arsene Wenger, pictured, feels the Community Shield match against Jose Mourinho's Chelsea will be more than a friendly
Arsene Wenger, pictured, feels the Community Shield match against Jose Mourinho's Chelsea will be more than a friendly

Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger insists he remains unfazed by his inability to register a single victory over Jose Mourinho in 13 attempts.

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Wenger accepted there would be few pleasantries when Arsenal face Chelsea in Sunday's Community Shield at Wembley on Sunday.

The Gunners' French manager is prepared for the "tribunal" of public scrutiny he believes follows every big clash in English football, vowing not to alter his Premier League plans win or lose this weekend.

Chelsea boss Mourinho has accused Arsenal of trying to buy their way to the Premier League title, claiming totting up the Gunners' spending over the last two years leads to a "surprise".

Wenger attempted to downplay the pair's simmering feud ahead of Sunday's meeting, but conceded the contest is bound to carry a level of spice.

"You know, it will not be a friendly, because it is just like that - and it is good like that," said Wenger.

"That's part of our game now - you have to accept that every game is judged as though it's definite.

"But you know in real life it is not like that.

"The tribunal is out there and we'll draw conclusions from Sunday, but no matter if it's positive or negative we have to continue on our way and focus on ourselves."

Asked if his winless personal record against Mourinho was any concern, Wenger replied: "No, not at all."

Wenger then moved quickly to shoot down the line of inquiry, laughing off suggestions his relationship with Mourinho is far colder than his previous rivalry with ex-Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson.

"I'll leave your love story with him to continue without interfering," joked Wenger, light-heartedly suggesting the media favour Mourinho.

"I wouldn't like to interfere in that."

When challenged that Mourinho believes it is Arsenal who receive preferential treatment, Wenger replied: "So it's all about love."

Returning to the weight carried by Sunday's Community Shield, Wenger continued: "It's a game that is important, but it's still preparation.

"We want to win it but overall I think we can just give that little bit more confidence before we go into the season if we do well."

New recruit Petr Cech is expected to start in goal on Sunday in a quick-fire showdown with former club Chelsea.

Wenger backed the 33-year-old for a lengthy stint at the Emirates.

"He has an intimidating presence, that is for sure," said Wenger.

"In goal, he makes the goal look smaller, and that's the kind of charisma he has.

"But he has big size as well.

"He has a good combination between quality, agility and size, and he has always looked built for English football.

"And he's a very bright boy as well.

"I think his move is a bit like Van der Saar at that age, moving from Fulham to Manchester United and he still had five or six years with United.

"So I don't see why Petr should not have a few years.

"He's very serious, trains well, so there's no big problem."

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