Interview

Wenger on Beckham, Ronaldo and Manchester United

Arsene Wenger at Old Trafford

There were plenty of talking points as Arsène Wenger faced the media ahead of Sunday’s clash with Manchester United.

The boss was asked about previous trips to Old Trafford, his relationship with Jose Mourinho and his team selection this weekend. Here’s what he said:
 
on whether he will get a good reception at Old Trafford…
I always got a good reception.
 
on what a good reception would mean to him…
I don't know first of all what reception I will get, but we will be focused on winning the game. We had some great battles over 22 years and for me what will be at stake will be to recover from that [Atletico] result and before we go to Madrid to have a good game. If I get a good reception I will take it.
 
on whether his Arsenal sides helped United develop their football…
I don't know. I think Manchester United is a massive club with fantastic players. You realise only today when I look back now I realise what a great team they had. They had Giggs, Scholes, Beckham, and after that Ronaldo and Rooney together, when they were young. You see what they have done later and it shows you the challenge was huge. An unbelievable team. I realise that better at a distance than at the time.
 
on whether he’ll be sorry to say goodbye to Mourinho…
I say goodbye to everyone. In France we say ‘au revoir’ which means you might see me again.
 
on whether he can be friends with Mourinho…
It depends. I respect him of course and I don't want to go into individual… You should give me a little bit of peace for my final weeks and not try to push me into another confrontation. I want to go peacefully, and with Mourinho now because he is a great manager.
 
on whether he regrets not taking the Manchester United job…
No because Arsenal is the love of my life. I turned many clubs down to stay here and face the challenge when we built the stadium. I don't regret that because I see my life and what is important to me.
 
on Martin Edwards saying he went to see him to offer him the job…
Look, yes I speak to everybody. Yes I met Martin Edwards but many people came to see me in my home. But I was loyal to this club.
 
on whether he’ll rest anyone on Sunday…
Don't know. Maybe it's better to play. I will see how everybody responds on Saturday
 
on why he didn’t make any substitutes against Atletico…
We didn't look under threat, we had no experienced strikers on the bench, only Iwobi and he is not full of confidence so I didn't take the gamble. I think we were not under threat too much to concede a goal.
 
on whether Arsenal would have dominated had they stayed at Highbury…
Don't know. We had to change our philosophy when we moved to the Emirates but maybe in the short term it punished us a bit on potential championship winning teams but in the very long term it was the right decision.