By Chris Harris
Arsène Wenger is surprised he has been singled out for his refusal to shake a fellow manager’s hand and insists he will behave when other bosses do.
The Frenchman was criticised for ignoring Mark Hughes in the wake of his team’s 3-0 Carling Cup defeat at Manchester City on Wednesday night.
The issue cropped up at Wenger’s pre-match press conference on Friday and the manager hinted that Hughes’ behaviour during the game – and not the result – prompted him to walk away at the final whistle.
Indeed, Wenger is perplexed that his failure to observe the ‘ceremonial’ duties of a manager are seen as a bigger crime than insulting your opposite number during a game.
“I think sometimes in England that you feel that the ceremonial is more important than the real thing,” said Wenger.
“For example in this case, I am the only one who is questioned. I am here for 13 years, nobody wonders why did I react like that and [I am criticised],just because I did not respect the ceremonial.
“That means you can say what you want, insult everybody, but if at the end of the game you do what is [demanded] you are perfect.
“That is sometimes the case in England and I feel the ceremonial is important but it's not the most important. The most important is how you behave.
“I will [shake a manager’s hand] when people behave properly,” added Wenger. “But I am not a slave of the ceremonial. I have my freedom and like you, I have my views.”Copyright 2013 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to www.arsenal.com as the source 4 Dec 2009