World Football

Arsene Wenger vs. Jose Mourinho and 15 of the Biggest Managerial Bust-Ups

Karl MatchettFeatured ColumnistFebruary 17, 2014

Arsene Wenger vs. Jose Mourinho and 15 of the Biggest Managerial Bust-Ups

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    Jose Mourinho is never one to shy away from making battles with rival managers personal, with Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger the latest head coach to cross the Portuguese tactician's path.

    He's not the only one to become embroiled in bitter managerial mind games and speaking or acting out of turn, but he does seem to be the most frequently involved.

    Here's the latest on his war of words with Wenger, along with the biggest other recent managerial battles.

    Fair warning: if you're not fond of reading about Jose, you're unlikely to love the following.

Mourinho vs. Wenger

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    "Silly, disrespectful and embarrassing to himself and his club;" that's Wenger's assessment of Mourinho's latest tirade, as per Jeremy Wilson of the Telegraph.

    Mourinho had previously described Wenger as being a specialist in failure after the Arsenal manager had gone so long without winning a trophy—though Arsenal have a better chance of landing the FA Cup this season as they reached the quarterfinals at the weekend, while Chelsea were knocked out.

Mourinho vs. Pellegrini

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    Mourinho and Manuel Pellegrini are regular foes on the touchline, first in La Liga with Real Madrid and Malaga and now in the Premier League with Chelsea and Manchester City.

    Mourinho recently claimed Manchester City outspent his own club in the transfer market and made a £23 million profit in January—they didn't—while City boss Pellegrini shouldn't need a calculator to work it out. 

    Mourinho stated that City got away without a punishment for Yaya Toure's alleged kick on Ricky van Wolfswinkel—saying the FA "failed to defend football."

    For his part, the City boss retorted he didn't want to talk about Mourinho—then did, obviously.

Mourinho vs. Pep Guardiola

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    Mourinho vs. Pep Guardiola was the backdrop to El Clasico for too long, as the Portuguese man constantly peppered the buildup with his taunts, interpretations of the truth and goading one-liners.

    Guardiola was normally unflappable and completely withering in dealing with questions about his opposite number—but still had a few moments of unguarded rage to direct the way of Mou.

    A classic fixture became a comedy sideshow of belittling, theatrics and sniping while these two faced off.

Mourinho vs. Alex Ferguson

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    These two at times got on well...because it suited them to.

    At other moments they could be full of their usual soundbites and press rantings, only aimed at each other.

    Mourinho claimed it was "not possible to have a penalty against United" when he was in his first spell as Chelsea boss, while later at Inter Milan, he left off a Champions League tie without bothering to shake Alex Ferguson's hand—stating later he meant no offence.

    Fergie was quick to point out that Mourinho's constant war of words should need some accountability and criticised his opponent's one-sided view of things.

Mourinho vs. Rafael Benitez

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    The Mourinho-Benitez feud is a long-running one, stemming from their times as domestic and European rivals with Chelsea and Liverpool and continuing even up to this season.

    Jose criticised Liverpool for playing "testimonials" in the league in the run-up to a Champions League clash between the pair, while Rafael Benitez retorted Mourinho's tinkering with his team had cost Chelsea the title.

    Both managers had plenty to say both to and about the other's sets of fans, while Mourinho again passed up the post-game hand-shake after an FA Cup semifinal defeat.

    Mourinho continually referred to games his side was the better team in yet lost, and this term suggested Benitez did not look after the long-term future of Chelsea whilst at the helm last year.

Mourinho vs. Carlo Ancelotti

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    Mourinho and Carlo Ancelotti came head to head whilst at Inter and AC Milan respectively, while the Italian then took over as boss of Chelsea and this summer even took Mourinho's former job at Real Madrid.

    It was Jose who claimed Carlo was not a friend initially, with the latter quick to say he was not a fan of Mourinho, anyway.

    Ancelotti stated he preferred football games to mind games and looked to settle the issue later on.

Ferguson vs. Wenger

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    Ferguson and Wenger was one of the great Premier League battles for many years, with both managers winning titles and upsetting a few people along the way.

    From the pizza-throwing incident between the two sets of players to the ensuing "disgrace" cries from the United camp, while both had already long been involved in ongoing spats.

    So much so, that one fixture memorably saw both club's board chiefs have to be in contact to arrange a call for calm from fans and managers ahead of the game.

Ferguson vs. Benitez

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    Benitez is lucky and his teams are dull, shouted words from Ferguson's book—and that was after he had retired.

    There was Benitez's "facts" speech which got everybody so worked up over Ferguson's list of unpunished transgressions, the fact they both managed big rivals in Manchester United and Liverpool and, of course, the ongoing war over who spent more money and used it most wisely.

Wenger vs. Martin Jol

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    Arsenal and Tottenham always brings an element of aggression and fierce exchanges of words, but you wonder what might have happened to Wenger if he'd have continued his in-your-face approach to Martin Jol back in 2006.

    Tottenham scored after Arsenal wanted the ball put out of play, leaving Wenger incensed, but let's say the Dutch manager is rather better built than Wenger—that one probably wouldn't have ended well for the Frenchman.

Paolo Di Canio vs. Martin O'Neill

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    Paolo Di Canio criticised the state of the team, the money spent and the players' fitness after he took over from Martin O'Neill at Sunderland.

    He just about saved them from relegation but had a dreadful start to this season and was sacked himself.

    O'Neill retorted with little sympathy, calling the Italian a managerial charlatan and implying he didn't know what he was doing. 

Neil Lennon vs. Ally McCoist

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    Rangers and Celtic bosses down the years might fill an entire piece of their own, but the most recent incident came when Neil Lennon and Ally McCoist had to be dragged apart at full-time in 2011.

    Words were exchanged and there were plenty of pointed fingers, pushing and shoving before the pair were separated.

    Rangers' demotion means we perhaps haven't seen the best, or worst, of this in recent years.

Roy Evans vs. Joe Royle

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    Mark Thompson/Getty Images

    There is not often much love lost between Liverpool and Everton managers, with mid-1990s bosses Roy Evans and Joe Royle often getting involved in touchline spats.

    One particularly ferocious—and goalless—match led to Reds boss Evans deriding the very-much-not "school of science" approach by their rivals, with Royle retorting toys were thrown out of prams by the Liverpool lot.

    It's probably also worth mentioning Rafael Benitez's "small club" dig at David Moyes and co. from the mid-2000s.

Mourinho vs. Tito Vilanova

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    Mourinho again! He was filmed purposely poking Tito Vilanova in the eye, randomly, during a big pile-on between Barca and Real players after a red-card incident.

    The two had only a year together, or rather against each other, before Mourinho departed Madrid and illness forced Vilanova away from Barcelona.

Ferguson vs. Roberto Mancini

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    Manchester clubs United and City have had plenty of recent rivalry to argue over and former managers Ferguson and Roberto Mancini did more than enough of that from time to time.

    The biggest row escalated when Ferguson became incensed at Mancini "badgering" the officials all game long, with the Italian unhappy at calls going against his team.

    Not that Ferguson himself ever berated referees and other officials, of course.

    The two had to be separated on that occasion and there were plenty of other words in press conferences before and after.

Neil Warnock vs. Everybody

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    We'll finish up with one of the rowdiest, argumentative, non-stop-moaning managers in the English game, Neil Warnock.

    We're not matching him with anybody in particular—he can fall out with everybody.

     

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