Chelsea v Arsenal: Jose Mourinho claims rival Arsene Wenger has been 'privileged' to reach 1,000th match

There has been no love lost between the pair over the years

Jose Mourinho paid Arsène Wenger a tribute of sorts, but made clear the pair were not “friends” and suggested that the Arsenal manager is judged far more favourably for similar indiscretions.

Follow Saturday's live Premier League action

The Chelsea manager was asked whether he was tired of being seen as the villain, with Wenger the hero, and he certainly agreed.

“Look, you see the charges from the last match, and you see I am different than everyone else in the eyes of people. That is obvious. It annoys me. Of course I am [treated differently]. I don’t know why.”

Mourinho was charged this week with misconduct by the Football Association for going onto the pitch during last Saturday’s 1-0 defeat at Aston Villa, which he will contest. “For obvious reasons, I don’t accept the charges,” he said.

Saturday’s game will be the first between Mourinho and Wenger since the former called the latter a “specialist in failure”. The Portuguese was asked about that spat and asked for Wenger to be held to account as well. “You have to ask him if he regrets the comments he made. Then I’ll answer you.”

Mourinho contrasted his treatment with his own love for the English game. “Nobody working outside this country defends English football as much as I did during the five years I was working in Italy and Spain,” he said.

“I didn’t say that because I was expecting to come back one day, and wanted nice treatment. That’s not the point. Even after Saturday, I keep saying English referees are very, very good and I have complete trust of them. Even after Saturday. So imagine how I feel in relation to English football. But it’s obvious there is a measure for some and a measure for me. There’s a way where I can feel the differences, all the time.”

Mourinho said he would treat Wenger just as he would any other opposition manager when Arsenal visit Stamford Bridge today, but confirmed they were not especially close. “Not friends,” said Mourinho. “I don’t know your concept of ‘friends’. I don’t know if it is somebody you see three times in a year, and when you see them you see for five minutes or even less.

“To say that I am a friend with a football manager, a ‘friend’ friend, it is people that have moments and share something with me, I was their assistant or they were mine. So Louis van Gaal is my friend, I worked for him for so long. Other managers, you shake hands, it’s two minutes.”

While much of the football world was keen to pay Wenger respect, Mourinho’s own tribute was more ambiguous than most. “The tribute is to say that I believe that any one of us, we would love to have the same privilege with our clubs,” he said of Wenger reaching his 1,000th game. “There are many ways of paying tribute. I love my career and the experiences I’ve had in my career, but he’s in a position where everyone likes to be.”

Mourinho did point out, though, that Wenger’s longevity has included some periods of less success. “I admire him and I admire Arsenal, because it’s not possible to have 1,000 matches unless the club is also a fantastic club in the way they support the manager, especially in the bad moments and especially when the bad moments were quite a lot.”

Arsenal are making their best title challenge for six years, which Mourinho attributed to a change in Wenger’s philosophy. “They are different, for better,” he said. “They are a very good defensive team. They are a completely different side, going a bit against their ideas of attacking football.”

This Arsenal team is not as good as the first one Mourinho faced. “The team I met when I came to England in 2004 had everything to be admired, it was fantastic,” he said. “But there is only one Thierry Henry, only one Patrick Vieira, Dennis Bergkamp, Tony Adams, Sol Campbell, Robert Pires. You have to try and build a second one.”

Suggested Topics
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

The Silk Roads that trace civilisation: Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places

The Silk Roads that trace civilisation

Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places
House of Lords: Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled

The honours that shame Britain

Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled
When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race

'When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race'

Why are black men living the stereotypes and why are we letting them get away with it?
International Tap Festival: Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic

International Tap Festival comes to the UK

Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic
War with Isis: Is Turkey's buffer zone in Syria a matter of self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Turkey's buffer zone in Syria: self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Ankara accused of exacerbating racial division by allowing Turkmen minority to cross the border
Doris Lessing: Acclaimed novelist was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show

'A subversive brothel keeper and Communist'

Acclaimed novelist Doris Lessing was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show
Big Blue Live: BBC's Springwatch offshoot swaps back gardens for California's Monterey Bay

BBC heads to the Californian coast

The Big Blue Live crew is preparing for the first of three episodes on Sunday night, filming from boats, planes and an aquarium studio
Austin Bidwell: The Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England with the most daring forgery the world had known

Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England

Conman Austin Bidwell. was a heartless cad who carried out the most daring forgery the world had known
Car hacking scandal: Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked

Car hacking scandal

Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked
10 best placemats

Take your seat: 10 best placemats

Protect your table and dine in style with a bold new accessory
Ashes 2015: Alastair Cook not the only one to be caught in The Oval mindwarp

Cook not the only one to be caught in The Oval mindwarp

Aussie skipper Michael Clarke was lured into believing that what we witnessed at Edgbaston and Trent Bridge would continue in London, says Kevin Garside
Can Rafael Benitez get the best out of Gareth Bale at Real Madrid?

Can Benitez get the best out of Bale?

Back at the club he watched as a boy, the pressure is on Benitez to find a winning blend from Real's multiple talents. As La Liga begins, Pete Jenson asks if it will be enough to stop Barcelona
Athletics World Championships 2015: Beijing witnesses new stage in the Jessica Ennis-Hill and Katarina Johnson-Thompson heptathlon rivalry

Beijing witnesses new stage in the Jess and Kat rivalry

The last time the two British heptathletes competed, Ennis-Hill was on the way to Olympic gold and Johnson-Thompson was just a promising teenager. But a lot has happened in the following three years
Jeremy Corbyn: Joining a shrewd operator desperate for power as he visits the North East

Jeremy Corbyn interview: A shrewd operator desperate for power

His radical anti-austerity agenda has caught the imagination of the left and politically disaffected and set a staid Labour leadership election alight
Isis executes Palmyra antiquities chief: Defender of ancient city's past was killed for protecting its future

Isis executes Palmyra antiquities chief

Robert Fisk on the defender of the ancient city's past who was killed for protecting its future