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Jose Mourinho Says Mikel Arteta Appointed at Arsenal Because of 'Zero Defeats'

Christopher Simpson@@CJSimpsonBRFeatured ColumnistDecember 21, 2019

WOLVERHAMPTON, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 15: Jose Mourinho, Manager of Tottenham Hotspur looks on during the Premier League match between Wolverhampton Wanderers and Tottenham Hotspur at Molineux on December 15, 2019 in Wolverhampton, United Kingdom. (Photo by Chris Brunskill/Fantasista/Getty Images)
Chris Brunskill/Fantasista/Getty Images

Tottenham Hotspur boss Jose Mourinho has questioned Arsenal's decision to appoint Mikel Arteta as their new manager ahead of Carlo Ancelotti.

The Gunners announced Arteta as Unai Emery's permanent replacement on Friday, while Ancelotti, who was linked with the vacancy at Arsenal, could be set to take over at Everton.

Per Goal's Sean Wilson, Mourinho said of the appointment:

"The only point I can find, and it is for us to laugh a little bit, is that years ago the best managers were the guys with more victories and now the best is the guy with the fewest defeats.

"So, Ancelotti has three Champions Leagues, won the league in Italy, France and England and won cups here and there—but Ancelotti has lost, I don't know, 200 matches?

"I have lost 150 to 180—Carlo is a little bit older than me. I think now it is not about how much you won, it is about the matches we didn't lose. So, probably the best managers now are the managers with zero defeats.

"The only reason I can understand is that they look through the CVs and see guys with more defeats and guys with less defeats, so guys with less defeats are given the job. I cannot find another reason."

As Mourinho observed, Ancelotti has one of the best resumes of any manager operating in world football.

The 60-year-old has been a manager for 24 years with spells at Juventus, AC Milan, Chelsea, Paris Saint-Germain, Real Madrid, Bayern Munich and Napoli.

He has won four league titles—one each in Serie A, the Premier League, Ligue 1 and the Bundesliga—three UEFA Champions Leagues and 13 other honours.

By contrast, Arsenal will be Mikel Arteta's first managerial job since he began his coaching career in 2016.

It is not often elite Premier League sides hire managers with no prior experience as a No. 1:

Sky Sports Statto @SkySportsStatto

Mikel Arteta becomes only the 5th man with no prior managerial experience to take permanent charge of a “Big Six” club in PL era Previously: Roy Evans - Liverpool, 1994 Ruud Gullit - Chelsea, 1996 Gianluca Vialli - Chelsea, 1998 Tim Sherwood - Tottenham, 2013 #Arteta @Arsenal https://t.co/uSv5F4XL3O

Arteta has benefited from having played for Arsenal, where he made 150 appearances. Had he no insider knowledge of the Emirates Stadium, he likely would not have been considered for the job.

To appoint someone with no managerial experience is a significant gamble for the Gunners given the size of the rebuild needed there.

The 37-year-old has enjoyed three years working under and learning from one of the world's best coaches in Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola, though.

In his press conference following his unveiling on Friday, Arteta made it clear he will be demanding a lot from his players:

Arsenal @Arsenal

So what should we expect from Mikel Arteta as a head coach? 🤔 🎙 @m8arteta explains... https://t.co/PlIbzjnnPd

Goal's Charles Watts and ESPN's David Cartlidge reacted positively to his appointment, despite his lack of experience:

Charles Watts @charles_watts

Real sense of excitement after that today. Arteta so impressive, he had such confidence. It just felt right seeing him up there. Patience is key, but convinced he will be an excellent appointment if he is backed and allowed to fully implement his ideas.

David Cartlidge @davidjaca

For what Arteta lacks in experience, he has already set about making up for in his early moves as coach. His work on teaching players new positions (Delph, Zinchenko), helping them integrate (Rodri) and ironing out their weaknesses (Sterling) has been notable behind the scenes.

Long term, Arteta's job will be to reverse the slump Arsenal suffered under Emery and in Arsene Wenger's final years in charge. in 2017, the club dropped out of the Premier League's top four for the first time since 1996, and they've yet to break back into it.

Arsenal are seven points off the top four this season. They've won just once in the league since October 6, so there's plenty of room for improvement in the immediate future, but Arteta can't be fairly assessed one way or another until next season at least.