Wenger in no mood to say sorry as olive branch is spurned

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The Independent Football

The feud, which escalated over the past week, began with Wenger's comments about Chelsea's slightly faltering form and took a more personal turn with Mourinho calling the Frenchman "a voyeur". While Wenger felt he had every right to express his own opinions about the Premiership champions' draw with Everton and defeat to Charlton, he believes Mourinho took a wrong turn by making the insults personal.

"Firstly I don't see what I can apologise for," he said yesterday. "Secondly I will reflect on the situation until the [international] break and see what kind of action I will take, if any.

"Of course I did not think about going through the FA [Football Association]," he added, "I've thought about legal action. I haven't spoken to my lawyers about this. I've only spoken about this situation with the media and nobody else. I am reluctant to take action because I have nothing to gain from it. At some stage also you have to be firm."

Recalling Mourinho's remarks last Saturday when he expanded on his "voyeur" comment by adding he thought Wenger "had a telescope", he said: "Of course I was hurt by Mourinho's comments because it was a personal attack. Did I hurt Chelsea? I don't know. My intention was not to do so.

"I'm not especially keen to talk about Chelsea. But when I'm in a press conference, I'm asked my opinion and I give my honest opinion. Sometimes people like it, sometimes they don't. But it's never meant on purpose to hurt anybody. Certainly I never had any personal attack on anybody."

To prove he can accept Mourinho's opinions about Arsenal, Wenger continued: "He [Mourinho] says he hopes [Manchester] United finish second in the League. I have nothing against that - that is an opinion and I accept it.

"I feel when you attack somebody individually you have to apologise, unless you stick to your guns and you feel you are right.

"I don't even know Mourinho. At the moment I'm much more concerned about how we will play today than organising a meeting with him."

Wenger's other great adversary Sir Alex Ferguson also accused Arsenal this week of preparing to pull their players out of next weekend's friendlies but Wenger, although he admitted it would please him to do just that, said a World Cup year was the wrong time to try his luck.

"I would love to pull my players out but you cannot. It is a sensitive year for the players because some of them fight for their place in the national team.

"It would be costly for them with regards to the World Cup. Sol Campbell, for example, if he has a slight problem we will pull him out but if he is fit I want him to go because there is a fight there with the players who want to defend their chances to play next summer."

Meanwhile, after resting Thierry Henry last week in the Premiership against Tottenham Hotspur, Wenger said the striker will start against Sunderland today but warned that his groin injury is a long-standing problem.

"He looks sharp and fit and scored a great goal on Wednesday night," Wenger said. "He cannot be 100 per cent and you can never guarantee there will be no setback. We have been as cautious as we can be."