Tue, May 09, 2017 - Page 16 News List

Mourinho goads Wenger following 2-0 loss


Arsenal’s Danny Welbeck, second right, scores against Manchester United in their Premier League match at the Emirates Stadium in London on Sunday.

Photo: Reuters

Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho on Sunday stoked the embers of his rivalry with Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger after his side’s damaging 2-0 defeat at the Emirates Stadium in London.

Second-half goals by Granit Xhaka and Danny Welbeck earned Arsenal victory as Wenger overcame Mourinho in an English 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 afterward 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.”

“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,” he added of Wenger.

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

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 the Gunners to close to within seven points of third-placed 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,” he said.

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

Mourinho said his side’s chances of qualifying for the UEFA Champions League via the Premier League were over.

“Impossible, because I don’t think the others, playing one match per week and being in a great situation, are going to blow it,” Mourinho said.

“I don’t think we have any chance of finishing top four in the Premier League,” he said. “We have to chase the Champions League by trying to win the Europa League.”

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