Man Utd boss Jose Mourinho has offered his reaction to the news that Arsene Wenger will be stepping down as Arsenal manager at the end of the season.
The pair have had a heated relationship for the most part, as they’ve been involved in some hostile exchanges through the media during Mourinho’s spells in England.
Having clashed through both stints in charge at Chelsea, things have been less intense since he took over at Man Utd, but the duo have certainly had their moments including a touchline bust-up at Stamford Bridge a few years ago.
In turn, eyes were on the Portuguese tactician as he took his press conference on Friday, just hours after Wenger’s statement was released that he would be leaving Arsenal at the end of the season.
In fairness, it’s a classy and respectful response from Mourinho, as he paid tribute to Wenger’s influence at Arsenal and insisted that although he had no regrets over their past, it was different looking at from inside as a manager rather than in the media.
“I’m pretty sure we as a club and especially because Mr Wenger and Arsenal were for many many years the biggest rivals of Sir Alex’s era, I’m pretty sure that we as a club will show Mr Wenger the respect he deserves,” he is quoted as saying by The Mirror. “I hope he doesn’t retire from football.
“It’s not about regretting, I think your question is a typical question from somebody that was not in this side. I respect the person, the professional, the career and I always say that for some the memory is short.
“I know what it means, three PL titles and seven FA Cups, what he did in Japan and France, what he brought to French football and what he gave to Arsenal in the period without PLs, the transition from stadium to stadium, we know what he did.
“If he’s happy with the decision, I’m really happy.”
The pair will enjoy one last battle when Arsenal visit Old Trafford to take on Man Utd on April 29, with Wenger having seven games left as Arsenal boss.
He may well have an eighth if he can guide his side past Atletico Madrid and get to the Europa League final, and winning a trophy would certainly be a great way to bid him farewell.