Mourinho can't resist dig on Wenger's big day

Published on NewsOK Modified: March 21, 2014 at 8:23 am •  Published: March 21, 2014
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High-profile figures from English football lined up to pay glowing tributes to Arsene Wenger on Friday as the Frenchman prepared to take charge of his 1,000th match as Arsenal manager.

Jose Mourinho wasn't about to get carried away with the acclaim, however.

The Chelsea manager couldn't resist a dig at a rival he has clashed with in the Premier League down the years, most recently calling him a "specialist in failure" after going the last eight seasons without winning a trophy.

When asked for a tribute to Wenger, Mourinho said: "The tribute is to say that I believe that, any one of us, we would love to have the same privilege (of being given time) with our clubs."

While saying he admired Wenger, Mourinho praised Arsenal for standing by its manager "especially in bad moments — and especially when the bad moments were quite a lot."

Wenger's landmark match is against Chelsea on Saturday, and the Arsenal manager hasn't won any of his past nine meetings with Mourinho.

Former Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson — one of three other coaches to have been in charge of a team for 1,000 games — was much more congratulatory, calling it a "momentous landmark."

"I cannot emphasize enough the level of dedication, resilience as well as sacrifice required and for that I have for the utmost admiration," Ferguson said in a statement released by the League Managers Association.

"Over the years, we enjoyed some fantastic battles and you could say we had survived together and respected each other's efforts to play good football. I always enjoy watching Arsene's sides — Arsenal play the right way."