Arsenal defender Laurent Koscielny has dismissed the assertion that there is any bad blood between Arsene Wenger and Jose Mourinho, insisting the managers are friends despite their conflict at Stamford Bridge on Sunday.
Best of enemies
Wenger and Mourinho clashed angrily on the touchline after Alexis Sanchez and been scythed down by Gary Cahill and both, as expected, have blamed each other for sparking the row, which saw pushes exchanged.
There has, for the best part of a decade, always seemed like there is a bitter and deep-held resentment between Wenger and Mourinho, although Koscielny claims this is not the case, and suggests the pair are more pally than most would expect.
"It's a long history of friendship between the two coaches," Koscielny said, as reported by Goal.com.
"After Cahill's tackle, I think the coach was a little upset because three days before Alexis Sanchez received the same tackle against Galatasaray. The player only got a yellow card. [Wenger] flew out of control."
It is, however, difficult to believe Koscielny given the evidence that has stacked up since Mourinho first arrived at Chelsea following his success with Porto. Numerous barbs have been traded and personal attacks mounted.
The rivalry was at its most intense in Mourinho’s second campaign with Chelsea after he had been able to beat Arsenal to the title during his maiden season, and he made countless withering comments about his Gunners counterpart.
This has continued following Mourinho’s return, having last season claimed Wenger is a “specialist in failure” something the Arsenal manager, as expected, did not take too kindly to.
Mourinho was offered an opportunity to apologise for this ahead of the most recent meeting with Arsenal, but was not prepared to show any sign of weakness that would allow Wenger to take the advantage.
“I don’t apologise, he didn’t apologise. My feeling is not to go over it – forget it, to move forwards without thinking about what happened,” Mourinho said.
“He doesn’t need to apologise, so I don’t need an apology or to apologise.
“Intelligent football people don’t need that, it’s finished. Let’s go for another match with big responsibilities for both of us.”