Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho has finally admitted he regrets some of his snipes directed at his old foe Arsene Wenger.
The duo have lived through a turbulent rivalry since they were thrown into combat when Mourinho joined Chelsea in 2004, with some of the comments from the coach now in charge of United etched into Premier League folklore for all the wrong reasons.
Mourinho hailed Wenger as ‘a specialist in failure’ and a ‘voyeur obsessed with Chelsea’ during their numerous spats, but there appears to be a thawing in their relationship ahead of what may be their final meeting at Old Trafford on Sunday.
Mourinho suggested earlier this week that he could be friends with Wenger now that the Frenchman is preparing to end his reign as Arsenal boss and he elaborated on those comments in his latest press conference.
“There are little things where it would be obviously be better without them, some gestures, some words would be better without it,” reflected Mourinho as he was asked whether he regrets his snipes at Wenger.
“I feel better now without it, no doubts about it but again when I arrive in England 2004, Arsene was the champion and the famous Invincibles, and I arrive and for the next couple of years was with them. (Dennis) Bergkamp, Thierry (Henry), (Sol) Campbell, amazing team, so again thank you very much for that.
“They pushed us to the limits. The two matches we played not at the Emirates but at amazing old stadium, unforgettable, we had big matches, big fights, so thank you so much for that. Regret? Little negative episodes.”
Mourinho also urged the Old Trafford crowd to give Wenger a cordial reception in what will be his final game at the stadium as Arsenal boss.
“I always feel the biggest rivals are our biggest friends because they’re the ones that pushed us to the limit,” he added.
“I think Man United fans know that until 2004 for about a decade was between Man United and Arsenal, was between Sir Alex and Mr Wenger and I think that these great teams Arsenal had and they fight shoulder to shoulder with Man United made Man United better and better.