Departing Wenger Seeks Peaceful End To Mourinho Rivalry

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"I don't regret that because I see my life and what is important to me", said Wenger. "Will I be friends with Mourinho?"

"And I feel happy to say that Paul can be a lot of things, but there's a thing I can assure you: he's very polite."

Mourinho also said there was "no chance" that keeper David de Gea would be allowed to leave the club in the close season.

"It is very hard to keep it calm and quiet, but over the distance the respect always takes over".

"It's odd for me to see him in a different shirt because he had a strong bond with the club and of course he was here for a few years".

"You always have respect for people who suffer, unless you are completely not human at all".

Wenger had not got the better of Mourinho in a competitive fixture until Arsenal beat United 2-0 at the end of last season.

Likewise, Jose Mourinho and Arsene Wenger have had their own history of fall-outs and bust-ups over the years, but this is a fixture that certainly needs no extra spice or tension.

Catherine Ivill  GettyImages
Catherine Ivill GettyImages

"Between 1998 and 2005 it was an intense rivalry and the main rivalry was between the two clubs", he added.

"I turned many, many, many jobs down to stay here, and face the challenge when we build the stadium".

"In the build-up to a game and after a game everything was absolutely tense".

The result brought an end the Arsenal's monumental "Invincibles" run as they were one game away from making it 50 Premier League matches without defeat.

"If it wasn't me I would find that picture quite amusing", he said. First of all I didn't know why I was sent off, nobody knew why, even the referee didn't know and I didn't know where to go because the stand was full.

Their rivalry has spanned three managerial jobs for Mourinho but the lingering presence of Wenger - and the plaudits he has received - has seemed always to irritate the Manchester United manager and there have been spectacular verbal clashes.

"We needed that - a little bit more experience and mental aggressiveness that I knew sooner or later were coming".

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