Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho has publicly hit out at many different people and entities over the years, but Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger has definitely been one of his favorite targets. He’s called the Frenchman a lot of nasty names over the course of their individual rivalry, including a “voyeur.”
However, Mourinho took a 180 degree turn a week ago, when Wenger announced that he’ll be stepping down at the end of the season. Mourinho gave the 68-year-old a true “retirement bounce,” praising him extensively. That continued this week, as Mourinho said how much he respects Wenger in an interview with Sky Sports on Wednesday.
Mourinho even said that perhaps one day, he and Wenger might even become friends. Wow! What is this world coming too! I guess the only personal rivalry left for Mourinho will be his row with his Chelsea successor, Antonio Conte.
Mourinho’s Wenger love fest continued at his weekly news conference today, ahead of the two sides clashing at Old Trafford on Sunday. The 55-year-old says he has regrets over his past rows with Wenger.
“There are little things where it would be obviously better without them, some gestures, some words would be better without it,” Mourinho said.
“I feel better now without it, no doubts about it. Regret? The little negative episodes, yes I do and maybe he does.”
Wenger has often been the target of United supporter vitriol over the years, and the Portugese hopes that isn’t the case this weekend. This will be Wenger’s last match at United after 22 years as Arsenal boss, and Mourinho hopes the Theatre of Dreams treats him right.
“I always feel the biggest rivals are our biggest friends,” he added.
“They’re the ones that pushed us to the limit and I think Manchester United fans know that until 2004, for about a decade, it was between Manchester United and Arsenal, was between Sir Alex Ferguson and Mr Wenger and I think that these great teams Arsenal had and the fight, shoulder to shoulder, with Manchester United made Manchester United better and better.”
“I hope he has a good reaction, if not good, not bad at all and from us at the club he is going to feel the respect we have.”
United FC Starting XI Prediction: go to this link
Arsenal FC Starting XI Prediction: go to this link
Injury and fitness report for both teams: go to this link
Odds via Odds Checker: United 6/13, Draw 50/13, Arsenal FC 15/2
Paul M. Banks runs The Sports Bank.net and TheBank.News, which is partnered with News Now. Banks, a former writer for the Washington Times, NBC Chicago.com and Chicago Tribune.com, currently contributes regularly to WGN CLTV and the Tribune company’s blogging community Chicago Now.
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