Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger hit back at his old sparring partner Jose Mourinho today, after the controversy over Alexandre Lacazette starting last Saturday’s Premier League clash between the two clubs.
The Gunners boss had stated last week that his £48 million summer signing would definitely not be available to face United because of injury, however the striker did start and in fact played 90 minutes at the Emirates in his sides 3-1 loss.
This prompted Mourinho to have a not so subtle dig at Wenger when giving a injury update on his own players fitness ahead of this weekend’s Manchester Derby:
“Do you want the truth? The truth is Bailly, no chance. Jones and Fellaini a chance. Zlatan a big chance & Matic is injured but will play. No stories of Lacazette [or] Silva. All the truth.”
But speaking before his sides UEFA Europa League clash against BATE Borisov later today, Wenger snapped back at his Portuguese counterpart:
“I thought he wouldn’t play but in the end he could, what did you want me to do? Leave him at home?
“I’m always honest. I thought really he wouldn’t play. That’s what I was told. He had a test on Friday morning, then even when he went to the game we weren’t sure if he would play.
“But he tried and he played. That’s part of football.”
Ok, so it’s hardly the most extreme argument these two old adversaries have ever had, but still, it is at least a bit of action in terms of managerial mind games.
It’s all been fairly quiet in regards to managers having a go at each other in the Premier League lately – especially when you consider all the massive ego’s currently plying their trade in England’s top-flight; Jose Mourinho, Pep Guardiola, Jurgen Klopp, Antonio, Mauricio Pochettino and of course the old stalwart Arsene Wenger.
We’re hoping this is just the start, and as the season goes on, and the pressure builds there will be loads of fireworks between these highly talented coaches.