Wenger is a 'hypocrite' and 'loser' who 'lacks respect', according to his rivals

Arsene Wenger was the subject of a three-pronged attack from familiar managerial foes yesterday.

Sir Alex Ferguson, Sam Allardyce and Jose Mourinho have long had their differences with the Arsenal manager but, quite separately, they rounded on a man whose crusade for "pure football" has got under a number of tracksuits.

To Allardyce, he was a man who had fatally changed tactics and in doing so lost the art of winning trophies. To Ferguson, he had shown a marked lack of respect to Paul Scholes when he accused the Manchester United midfielder of "possessing a dark side". To Mourinho, whose dislike of Wenger is intense, he was a "hypocrite".

As he prepared to take Arsenal to Ewood Park, one of those clichéd "tough northern grounds" where his young players are supposed to either sink or swim, Wenger accused Stoke of employing "rugby tactics" against Tottenham last weekend. A manager of Arsenal is not supposed to be overly concerned with the welfare of Spurs players but Wenger mentioned it because these are precisely the tactics he expects Allardyce to employ at Blackburn this afternoon.

They have proved remarkably successful. Arsenal have won just eight of the 21 encounters between Wenger and Allardyce and the loss of a two-goal lead at Bolton in April 2003 proved the decisive moment in the tussle with Manchester United for the championship.

"We should never beat Arsenal but we do. It is not because of rugby tactics but, until the game becomes a non-contact sport, the physical side is very important," said Allardyce.

"I should remind Arsène about his own team that used to win the championship. It was the dirtiest team in the League. When they used to win the League they did it with more sendings-off and bookings than anyone else. Patrick Vieira, Emmanuel Petit, Sol Campbell and Martin Keown would mix it any way you wanted to.

"His change of tactics from that day to this are quite remarkable. He has gone from that team and changed it into one bred on getting the ball down and passing and moving. We all agree it is the most pleasing football anyone can watch but it is still not as good as the team he used to have when he won the League and the Cup."

It is five years since Wenger's last piece of silverware, the 2005 FA Cup, a match in which Arsenal found themselves entirely outplayed by Manchester United, although they clung on for a penalty shoot-out, won when Scholes failed with his spot-kick.

The relationship between Ferguson and Wenger, which was once so glacial, has warmed considerably since then, although the Arsenal manager joked this was because "he no longer sees me as a threat".

Nevertheless, Ferguson thought it odd that Wenger had accused Scholes of "having a dark side" to his game. "I don't know why Arsène Wenger said that," said Ferguson. "I know he is not the world's best tackler but he has not injured anyone in his time here. It is very easy to look into the dark side of any player.

"I could say the same of one of Arsenal's players but I don't need to. He should focus on someone who has made a phenomenal contribution to English football over an 18-year period."

In Madrid, Mourinho said he thought it hypocritical that any manager put style before winning and, although he did not name Wenger, it was clear to whom he was referring. "If you don't play well, you don't win," he said. "It is hypocrisy to say: 'We played well but we did not win.' They claim they had bad luck, that they had 90 per cent of possession or lost a goal to a last-minute set-piece. I sometimes think these coaches must be so much more intelligent than me. When I lose I always find the reason why. We lost because we played badly, because we made mistakes or because the opposition was better."

Asked if he was referring to Wenger, Mourinho said: "There is a coach whose teams have been playing fantastically for 10 years and his players are always young. It is always a very young team that never wins anything. For me this is hypocrisy."

The problem with Arsene: Three managers have their say

Ferguson on Wenger

'I could say the same about one of Arsenal's players having a dark side. He should focus on Scholes' phenomenal 18-year contribution'

Mourinho on Wenger

'There is a coach whose teams have been playing fantastically for 10 years and his players are always young. A young team that never wins anything'

Allardyce on Wenger

'His own team that used to win the championship was the dirtiest team in the League with more sendings-off and bookings than anyone else'

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

Day In a Page

'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Russell Brand's interview with Ed Miliband has got everyone talking about The Trews

Everyone is talking about The Trews

Russell Brand's 'true news' videos attract millions of viewers. But today's 'Milibrand' interview introduced his resolutely amateurish style to a whole new crowd
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before
'Queer saint' Peter Watson left his mark on British culture by bankrolling artworld giants

'Queer saint' who bankrolled artworld giants

British culture owes a huge debt to Peter Watson, says Michael Prodger
Pushkin Prizes: Unusual exchange programme aims to bring countries together through culture

Pushkin Prizes brings countries together

Ten Scottish schoolchildren and their Russian peers attended a creative writing workshop in the Highlands this week
14 best kids' hoodies

14 best kids' hoodies

Don't get caught out by that wind on the beach. Zip them up in a lightweight top to see them through summer to autumn
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The acceptable face of the Emirates

The acceptable face of the Emirates

Has Abu Dhabi found a way to blend petrodollars with principles, asks Robert Fisk