Jose takes aim at Wenger

Chelsea manager suggests Arsenal boss has 'privilege' despite underachievement

LONDON • Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho's deep-lying antipathy towards Arsene Wenger has surfaced yet again, ahead of today's English Premier League trip to Newcastle United.

The Portuguese tactician was in a particularly spiky mood at his press conference yesterday, claiming he could not answer questions on the three-match ban for violent conduct imposed retrospectively on striker Diego Costa for fear of incurring a touchline suspension.

But he could not resist taking aim at old foe Wenger, perhaps as retaliation for the Frenchman's earlier comments regarding Leicester City manager Claudio Ranieri laying the foundations at Chelsea.

Mourinho made sure he did not name Wenger and, when asked if he sympathised with under-pressure Newcastle manager Steve McClaren, said: "In this country, only one manager is not under pressure, every other manager is under pressure. (Manuel) Pellegrini, Brendan (Rodgers), McClaren. We cannot lose matches, we cannot be below expectations.

"I have sympathy for all of them and they have sympathy for me because it is a difficult job.

"There is one (manager) for some reason outside that list but good for him."

When asked who he was referring to, Mourinho explained: "You know. He can speak about referees before and after, can push people in the technical areas, can cry in the morning, can cry in the afternoon, nothing happens.

"Doesn't achieve, keeps his job, can still be the king, it is privilege."

The relationship between the two managers has been further strained since Chelsea's 2-0 win over Arsenal last Saturday, a game in which Gabriel and Santi Cazorla were both sent off for the visitors.

The Brazilian defender has since had his red card rescinded while Costa has been given a three-match ban for violent conduct after an incident involving Laurent Koscielny.

Asked about the decision to overturn Gabriel's red card for treading on the foot of Costa, Mourinho said: "One of the things that was clear in football was that, when a player reacts to something that happened before - like Matic reacting last season (against Burnley) after a criminal tackle - retaliation was always punished in football.

"Now we know it isn't always. You can do that. You can do that."

Former England striker Alan Shearer was among those who suggested Costa went too far with his attempts to wind up Gabriel.

However, Mourinho would not be drawn on the likelihood of referees concentrating on his errant striker in the future.

"No comment," he said.

"I tell you why. In the rules book, it says some managers can speak about the referees before and after games. Some others cannot.

"I am in the list of those who are punished if they speak about the referees before the game.

"I have to stick to that rule book and I am in the list of those who cannot speak about the referees."

Mourinho will be without Costa for the visit to Newcastle, with either Radamel Falcao or former Newcastle striker Loic Remy set to lead the line.

REUTERS, THE GUARDIAN, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 26, 2015, with the headline 'Jose takes aim at Wenger'. Print Edition | Subscribe