Bickering duo told to stop the war of words


LONDON: Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger and Chelsea coach Jose Mourinho were urged yesterday to end their war of words by Arsenal chairman Peter Hill-Wood. 

He told London's Evening Standard newspaper that it was time for both men to move on. 

Mourinho, whose side have eclipsed London rivals Arsenal this year, branded Wenger a 'voyeur' at the weekend and portrayed him as a man with an unhealthy obsession in the Premier League champions. 

Wenger, who said he was considering legal action following Mourinho's remarks, denied on Tuesday he was fixated by Chelsea and implied that the Portuguese coach was stupid. 

“I think it is best (if) people don't talk about individuals,” said Hill-Wood. “For instance, I don't think I should make comments about other chairmen. Little personal jibes are irrelevant.” 

The Arsenal chairman said there was no ill feeling between the two clubs at boardroom level. 

“At the top level, there is no animosity. We are determined to live as friends in the Premier League. I am sure that all this will blow over.” 

The sniping broke out after Wenger said last week that Chelsea had lost some of their belief after they drew with bottom club Everton and then lost on penalties to Charlton Athletic in the League Cup. 

Wenger may have taken satisfaction on Tuesday from Chelsea's 1-0 defeat in the Champions League by Real Betis – the West London club's first defeat inside regulation time this season. 

Mourinho said it was the worst performance by Chelsea since he took charge 15 months ago. 

Mourinho also agreed it was time to stop the insults, while revealing that Chelsea had “a file of 120 pages” full of Wenger's quotes about their club over the last year. 

“He has talked enough about us including some very strange things about Chelsea Football Club,” he said after the Betis match. 

“We have a very strong answer. I accept the next answer being strong, but it is time to stop because if he doesn’t stop we are there. We are in the fight.”  

The head of the England coaches' association too wants the two managers to stop the sniping. 

“Arsene and Jose have responsibilities,” John Barnwell, chief executive of the League Managers' Association, said yesterday. “I don't expect them to shake hands, but I expect them to put the thing to bed and let it rest.'' 

Barnwell plans to talk with the two, and the English FA are also monitoring their behaviour. Ten months ago, the FA ordered Manchester United's Alex Ferguson and Wenger to halt a similar public feud. 

“Ultimately the courts are not going to be where this ends up,'' said Mark Stephens, a lawyer specialising in media law and defamation. “I think the FA will step in to stop it. 

“This is starting to turn into the sort of ridiculous nonsense that we see before two heavyweight pugilists step into the ring.” 

Wenger and Mourinho aren't getting the message, and their war of words has made headlines for three days running. 

“It's War,” the Daily Express said in a banner headline. – Reuters/AP 

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