Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho has seemingly questioned Arsenal’s mental fortitude after seeing the two sides draw 0-0 in the fraught Premier League encounter at the Emirates Stadium on Monday.
Not for the first time, after a relatively uneventful contest on the pitch, Mourinho appears to have decided to make some headlines off it—in an entertaining press conference with journalists that saw the Portuguese manager take a few jabs at the Gunners.
Arsenal’s players, and their manager, seemed aggrieved at a few decisions that did not go their way during the 90 minutes—specifically a stern challenge on Mikel Arteta from John Obi Mikel that evaded punishment, and a penalty appeal from Theo Walcott that was turned down by referee Mike Dean.
But Mourinho appeared to give the complaints short shrift, suggesting that the North London club like nothing more than to complain about decisions, even when they are without merit:
Mourinho on Arsenal red card appeal: 'They like to cry - that's tradition'— Sam Wallace (@SamWallaceIndy) December 23, 2013
JM on Mikel challenge: "Football is for men. Or for women with a fantastic attitude."— gunnerblog (@gunnerblog) December 23, 2013
The Mirror had the full quotes:
You know, they like to cry. That's tradition.
But I prefer to say, and I was telling it to the fourth official, that English people—Frank Lampard, for example—would never provoke a situation like that.
Players from other countries, especially some countries, have that in their blood if you have a contact or the opponent was aggressive.
Foreign players are bringing lots of good things. They come here because they are talented. But I prefer English blood in football. English blood in this situation is: 'Come on, let's go.'
Today it was important not to lose. But it wouldn't have been a big surprise if we had won. Arsenal showed a lot of frustration. But we weren't aggressive, sharp enough to score a goal.
When asked about chants from Arsenal fans of "Boring, boring Mourinho." he added: "I agree. I played against them 10 times and I never lost. Funny, funny Jose? 10 times they don't win once."
As with anything involving Mourinho, the comments are surely for effect—perhaps to remove focus from Chelsea's performance for much of the game, which grew more pragmatic as the contest wore on:
history repeating itself. Mourinho presser the real spectacle, Chelsea functional— Raphael Honigstein (@honigstein) December 23, 2013
Still, Arsenal fans are unlikely to be amused—although boss Arsene Wenger declined to get involved in a verbal war.
Again, via the Mirror, Wenger responded:
It's Christmas so let's give everyone his own opinion. I'll have mine. What can I say? We dropped two points tonight and that's what we want to focus on for the next game.
I think it was a penalty. Honestly. If I'm wrong, I apologise. I've not seen it again, but it looked like a penalty. They defended well, were well organised, and we didn't find our zippy movements to play between the lines as we can.
But only one team was going to win the game in the second half. Overall, they were happy with a point and we weren't. But we couldn't convert the chances.