Wenger brushes off Mourinho book claims


Arsene Wenger declined to comment on allegations that Jose Mourinho wanted to "break his face" - insisting he wishes to be "constructive" rather than "destructive".

The claims come from a new book written about Mourinho by journalist Robert Beasley and date back to the Portuguese's time in charge of Chelsea, when Wenger was critical of their decision to sell Juan Mata to title rivals Manchester United during the January 2014 transfer window.

Wenger will tangle with Chelsea once more at Emirates Stadium on Saturday, with Antonio Conte in the opposing dugout on this occasion, and he was faintly amused by questions surrounding Mourinho's apparent threat of violence during a pre-match news conference on Friday.

"I haven't read the book and I certainly will not read it so I cannot comment on that," he said.

"I talk about football and that's all I do. I'm not in a destructive mode, never. I'm more constructive and I cannot comment on that.

"I am focused on tomorrow's game and the way we want to play football."

Wenger added: "I do not want to especially comment because we play Chelsea tomorrow. I have no personal problem with anybody. I respect everybody in our game.

"I do not feel I comment a lot on other teams. Sometimes I say what I think, but that's part of the way I am.

"What is amazing is that this has nothing to do with our game tomorrow. I personally am just focused on doing my job well and respecting everybody else.

"I will maybe make a book one day, but I am not ready for that yet."

Despite Mourinho now being stationed at Old Trafford as United manager, Wenger does not believe Arsenal versus Chelsea has lost any of the lustre of recent years.

"Not really. Honestly for me it was always just a big game, an important game," he said.

"The personal rivalry that you suggest was never in my head as a concern. What is always important is that it is a big game.

"Chelsea in the last 10 years have had very, very strong teams. You realise that today as well.

"Before that period we were always beat them, after they were always the stronger team for a few years.

"Now it looks like it is a new era where it is a bit more balanced again. We feel we are progressing at the moment so we have a good opportunity to grab and to change what I call the inconvenient facts of recent years."

Tempers boiling over has not merely been an issue for the dugouts during this cross-London clash, with Arsenal having Gabriel, Santi Cazorla and Per Mertesacker sent off as they suffered a pair of league defeats to Chelsea last term.

"We talked about [discipline] because in the last two games against Chelsea we have played with 10 men," Wenger explained.

"Tomorrow it is important the way we play our football, but, as well, the way we behave. Discipline and results are strongly linked and the regret from the past two games is we could not play with 11 against 11."