Arsene Wenger has shrugged off a new book’s claim that Jose Mourinho once threatened to ‘break his face’.
A new biography titled ‘Jose Mourinho, Up Close and Personal’, contains alleged conversations between Mourinho and football journalist Rob Beasley.
One exchange reportedly ended with Mourinho saying of Wenger: “I will find him one day outside a football pitch and I will break his face.”
Wenger and Mourinho have long had an acrimonious relationship. The duo traded barbs on several occasions during the latter’s time at Chelsea – most notably when Mourinho called Wenger ‘a specialist in failure’.
It all came to a head during a clash at Stamford Bridge last season, as the pair got into a pushing and shoving match on the touchline.
Wenger was asked to comment on the new book’s claims at Friday’s press conference ahead of Arsenal’s all-important clash with Chelsea, and replied: “Look, I haven’t read the book and I certainly will not read it so I cannot comment on that.
“I talk about football and that’s all I do. I’m not in the destructive mode, never. I am more constructive.
“I cannot comment on that because I am focused on tomorrow’s game and on the way we play football.”
Asked if some of the sting had been taken out of the Arsenal/Chelsea rivalry now that Mourinho no longer manages the Blues, Wenger said: “Not really. Honestly, for me it was always just a big game, an important game. The personal rivalry was never, in my head, a concern.
“What is always important is it was a big game. Chelsea, in the last 10 years, have had very strong teams. You realise that today as well.
“Before that period, we were always beating them and after they were always the stronger team for a few years. Now it looks like it’s a new era where it’s a big more balanced again.
“We feel we are progressing at the moment so we have a good opportunity to change what I call the inconvenient facts of the recent years.”