Bayern Munich boss Pep Guardiola has defended Arsene Wenger against accusations from Jose Mourinho that he is a failure.
Chelsea manager Mourinho is locked in a battle for the Premier League title with Manchester City and Arsenal, and has taken aim at both their managers recently.
But Guardiola, who plays Wenger's Arsenal in the Champions League round of 16 on Wednesday evening, has dismissed Mourinho's claims.
Sami Mokbel in the Daily Mail reports:
This life is not just about winning trophies.
Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose. Arsenal compete with huge teams. Chelsea, Manchester United, Manchester City—they are important teams. But Arsenal remains a good team and good club.
I have a lot of respect for my colleague Arsene: he always likes the good, good players, the good style of football.
Former Barcelona manager Guardiola had regular run-ins with ex-Real Madrid boss Mourinho when the two managed against one another in La Liga.
But rather than criticise and snipe at the opposition, Guardiola's style is much friendlier and he prefers to let his team do the talking on the pitch.
That is not hard when you have managed squads with the ability of Barca and Bayern, both outstanding in their own right and two of the best in the modern era.
Wenger's footballing philosophy is also very close to the style of Guardiola. Both like to promote an attractive possession-based passing brand of football, but it has worked very differently for them.
Mirror reporter John Cross agreed with this sentiment:
A love in between the managers today. Wenger and Guardiola have mutual respect. Guardiola praise for Arsenal, club, style and players— John Cross (@johncrossmirror) February 18, 2014
Wenger has not won a trophy for nine years while Guardiola has won 13 in a six-year managerial career.
It is likely that Guardiola's comments of support for Wenger are done with Mourinho in mind. Although it would take a lot for the Bayern boss to directly criticise the Portuguese, the two have not had an easy relationship for a long time.
As reported by Sid Lowe in the Guardian, the pair worked alongside one another for four years at Barcelona before their paths started to cross as managers. The rivalry led to many feuds including when their sides met four times in 18 days during April 2011, prompting emotions to spill over and both men to directly criticise the other.
But it is also likely that Guardiola has been inspired by Wenger's loyalty to his style of football and his sustained success at Arsenal.