Calm Wenger plays down delight at beating Jose Mourinho’s Manchester United
- Credit: PA Wire/PA Images
Arsene Wenger played down his first Premier League victory over a Jose Mourinho-led team after Arsenal triumphed 2-0 today at the Emirates.
The long-serving Frenchman won only his second game in 17 against his old Portuguese foe as second half goals from Granit Xhaka and Danny Welbeck all but ruled out a top four finish for the Red Devils.
With Mourinho mocking Arsenal and Arsenal fans after the game Wenger refused to stoke the flames of a long-term feud which has occasionally boiled over into personal abuse from the former Chelsea man by refusing to get carried away with the triumph this afternoon.
He insisted: “It’s between two teams and at the end of the day that’s what I make of it.”
The win moves sixth placed Arsenal to within two points off United, and six points off Manchester City in that all important fourth spot with a game in hand over Pep Guardiola’s men.
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Wenger insisted his team still had an outside chance of qualifying for next season’s Champions League.
He said: “We still have a chance mathematically [to finish in the top four] but we need some help from the teams around us.”
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Analysing today’s game Wenger said: “We need to be patient. Going in at half time 0-0 gave us a good chance to win the game.
“We started a bit nervous. We were a bit under pressure. And slowly we became better and we controlled the game in the second half.
“The first goal was a bit lucky. The second was a great goal. I’m happy for Danny [Welbeck]. When you play centre forward you know you want goals – and hopefully it will give him confidence.”
When asked if he thought former United man Welbeck raised his game every time he plays against his old club Wenger replied emphatically ‘yes’.
“It was important to win today [after losing to Spurs]. Overall you cannot afford to lose today.
Referring to his side’s recent run before the loss in the derby day defeat to Spurs Wenger said: “We won against Middlesbrough, against Leicester, against Manchester City in the FA Cup semi-final, we won today.
“I think it was a bit physical but overall we look a bit more stable [by playing a back three].”