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.”

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4 Dec 2009