Wenger doubts he will stay in EPL

Manchester United substitute Marouane Fellaini celebrating his stoppage-time winner.
Manchester United substitute Marouane Fellaini celebrating his stoppage-time winner.PHOTO: REUTERS

LONDON • Outgoing Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger says he will be "surprised" if he is working in the Premier League next season, although he has yet to consider his options upon his departure from the London club in the summer.

Wenger will leave Arsenal at the end of this campaign after a reign of almost 22 years that made him the most successful boss in the club's history.

He was presented with an engraved silver vase from former Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson and current Old Trafford boss Jose Mourinho before Sunday's game, which the Red Devils won 2-1.

The Frenchman showed his humour was still intact despite the well-publicised feuds with both Ferguson and Mourinho, and offered a cheeky quip in response to his parting gift: "When you're not a danger any more, people love you.

"I am thankful to United because they had a nice gesture. It is the first time I get a trophy before a game. It is very classy of them."

When asked whether he expected to come up against Mourinho again as a manager, Wenger said: "I don't know, honestly. He will be at Manchester United next year certainly and I don't know where I will be.

Former Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson hugs outgoing Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger (far left) before presenting him with a box containing an engraved silver vase before the Premier League clash at Old Trafford on Sunday.
Former Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson hugs outgoing Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger (far left) before presenting him with a box containing an engraved silver vase before the Premier League clash at Old Trafford on Sunday. PHOTO: EPA-EFE

"I have worked at a top level for 35 years without any interruption and I think I am the only one who has done that. I am in unknown territory. Will I take a break? I will be surprised if I meet him next year."

Mourinho welcomed the possibility of facing Wenger in the dugout again.

"I hope I play against him again. If not in the Premier League, who knows (where) we can have a big match somewhere?" the Portuguese said.

Wenger rested most of his regulars by playing an experimental, youthful side at United - Arsenal's youngest in the fixture since August 2011 - ahead of Thursday's crucial Europa League semi-final second leg against Atletico Madrid. But there were several injury worries to contend with post-match.

Henrikh Mkhitaryan limped off in the second half and the 68-year-old described the midfielder's injury as a "knock on the knee".

He also added it was too early to say if Mkhitaryan, or goalkeeper David Ospina and midfielder Alex Iwobi, who also picked up injuries, were at risk of missing the trip to the Spanish capital, with the tie at 1-1.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, REUTERS, THE GUARDIAN

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 01, 2018, with the headline 'Wenger doubts he will stay in EPL'. Print Edition | Subscribe