Jose Mourinho took another swipe at Arsene Wenger by insisting the Frenchman’s poor record against him is “not normal” after Arsenal’s 2-0 victory over Manchester United.
Wenger celebrated his first Premier League win over Mourinho at the 13th attempt after goals from Granit Xhaka and Danny Welbeck kept Arsenal’s Champions League qualification hopes alive.
Mourinho said defeat meant it would now be “impossible” for United to finish in the top four, insisting his team’s chances of playing in Europe’s premier competition next season now rest entirely on winning the Europa League.
Eight changes to United’s starting line-up at Emirates Stadium certainly pointed to Mourinho’s focus on Thursday’s semi-final at home to Celta Vigo, where they hold a 1-0 advantage from the first leg.
But while United chase their second major trophy this term, the Portugese could not resist another dig at Wenger’s lack of success in recent years.
Asked about Arsenal finally tasting victory against him, Mourinho said: “It’s a big club. You think I enjoy a big club like Arsenal not winning big trophies? I am not enjoying that honestly.
“But today I tried to win. I didn’t give them the match, I tried to win but we lost. Arsene Wenger is not a small manager, he is a big manager so to have that record of winning so many matches and losing so many matches is something that is not normal. That is not normal.
“Normal is win, lose, draw. It’s not normal and I really don’t care about it. Today no problem – we shook hands before the game, we shook hands after the game.
“And during the game I didn’t like what I never like, he puts too much pressure on the fourth official all the time.”
Arsenal fans taunted Mourinho in the latter stages of their victory, which puts the Gunners six points behind Manchester City, with one game in hand, and seven back on Liverpool, having played two games fewer than the Reds.
“The Arsenal fans, they are happy,” Mourinho said.
“I am happy for them, it is the first time I leave Highbury or Emirates and they are happy. I left Highbury, they were crying, I left Emirates, they were crying.
“They were walking the streets with their heads low. So finally today they sing, they (swing) the scarves – it’s nice for them.”
United, meanwhile, now sit four points behind City and five adrift of Liverpool, with only one game in hand over Jurgen Klopp’s men, and a tricky trip to Tottenham to come next weekend.
It means their chances of sneaking into the top four would appear increasingly remote.
“It’s impossible,” Mourinho said. “For two reasons: I don’t think the other ones playing one match a week and being in a great situation, I don’t think they are going to blow it.
“And because we go with everything on Thursday and we cannot go with everything against Tottenham. When you go with everything against Tottenham it’s difficult. When you don’t go with everything it’s more difficult.
“Two days later Southampton, two days later Crystal Palace. This is too much for us so I don’t think we have any chance of finishing top four in the Premier League.
“We have to chase Champions League by trying to win the Europa League.”
Mourinho and Wenger have endured a fractious relationship in recent years but the Arsenal boss claimed he took no personal satisfaction from the result.
“It’s between the two teams,” Wenger said. “At the end of the day, that’s what I make of it.”
Two goals in three minutes were enough to end United’s 25-match unbeaten run in the league as Xhaka scored with a shot deflected off Ander Herrera before the impressive Welbeck headed home Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain’s cross.
“It was important because we lost at Tottenham – that didn’t happen many times,” Wenger said.
“Overall, you play Man United and it’s another big game. We could not afford to lose today.”
Xhaka hobbled off in the 76th minute with pain in his calf. Wenger said he will have to be assessed ahead of Wednesday’s trip to Southampton.
Wenger, who finally got the better of old adversary Mourinho in the Premier League, admits qualifying for the Champions League remains a long shot but said: “There’s still a mathematical chance.
“We need some help but the best help we can get is from our own focus between now and the end of the season.”
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