Wednesday 23 May 2018

Arsène Wenger snaps back after Jose Mourinho's mockery

Arsenal manager tells reporters to forget about Jose Mourinho's claims that his team "only play from January to April"

Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger and Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho get caught up in a heated exchange last year
Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger and Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho get caught up in a heated exchange last year

Matt Law

Arsène Wenger has dismissed Jose Mourinho’s mocking speech in which the Chelsea manager suggested Arsenal only play from January to April.

Mourinho made the speech at Chelsea’s end of season awards dinner, when he also poked fun at Manchester City and United.

Chelsea won the Premier League title after virtually topping the table from start to finish, while Arsenal finished third and will play in the FA Cup final against Aston Villa on Saturday.

Speaking about “a team that play in red shirts with white sleeves”, Mourinho said: “They were scoring some, they were also conceding some. They were fantastic. They scored really beautiful goals, they concede some goals too and they were almost there.

"But they asked the international board to play only between January and April. And they told 'no chance, no chance'. You have to play between August and May, so they couldn't be champions.”

Read more: Video: Jose Mourinho mercilessly mocks Man City, Man United and Arsenal at Chelsea awards

Asked about the comments, Wenger snapped back: “Forget his speech and move onto something else. I’m not interested in his speech. I don’t listen to what people say. I listen to the questions that are asked, but when I don’t want to answer, I don’t want to answer.”

Wenger reiterated that striker Danny Welbeck will definitely miss the Cup final with a knee injury that will also rule him out of England’s forthcoming games against Republic of Ireland and Slovenia.

Welbeck’s absence means England manager Roy Hodgson will have only three out-and-out strikers at his disposal, captain Wayne Rooney, Charlie Austin and Jamie Vardy.

“Danny Welbeck will not be fit for us or for England,” said Wenger. “That’s basically the only injury we have at the moment. He would have been short (for the final) anyway, so I was prepared for that. He didn’t train until Friday, so I knew that he would be short for the FA Cup.

“When I saw Roy Hodgson last we were both confident that Welbeck would be available, but we called the FA yesterday (Tuesday) to explain that his bone bruising at the knee was not healed and that he absolutely had to rest. I don’t know what Roy will say.”

Wenger refused to give any hints over his Cup final team selection and would also not be drawn on reports linking Arsenal with Real Madrid striker Karim Benzema and Juventus midfielder Arturo Vidal.

“At the moment, I am not in a transfer mode,” said Wenger. “We’ll deal with the transfers after the FA Cup final. If you want me to say I like Arturo Vidal, yes I like Arturo Vidal. Are we in a transfer mode? I say, no.”

Read more: Arsene Wenger: We had to win big games to get here and now it's time to finish the job

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