London - The deep bitterness of Jose Mourinho’s 12-year rivalry with Arsene Wenger is sensationally exposed in a new book serialised by Sportsmail.
The Manchester United manager and his Arsenal counterpart have been fierce opponents since Mourinho arrived in England as Chelsea boss in 2004. But only now can his brutal enmity towards Wenger be fully revealed.
In the book Jose Mourinho: Up Close and Personal, author Rob Beasley reveals astonishing details of private conversations he had with the 53-year-old about Wenger.
After bickering with Wenger over Juan Mata’s £37million transfer to United from Chelsea in 2014, Mourinho told Beasley: ‘I will find him one day outside a football pitch and I will break his face.’
Beasley, who was the journalist closest to Mourinho during both his spells at Stamford Bridge, insists that he thought the Portuguese’s words were bluster.
Beasley also reveals that Mourinho claimed an unnamed Arsenal player texted him the day after Wenger’s team beat Manchester City in January 2015 to tell him the Gunners coach had nothing to do with the result.
The timing of today’s revelations are embarrassing for Mourinho as they come at a time when the rest of the football world is preparing to celebrate Wenger’s 20th anniversary of joining Arsenal.
United will also be slightly uncomfortable as this is the type of baggage they feared might come with Mourinho when they hired him to replace Louis van Gaal.
Mourinho will face questions about the book at his regular press briefing today, at a time when he is under pressure following the three defeats that preceded Wednesday’s EFL Cup win at Northampton.
To add to his discomfort will be a claim in Beasley’s book that he referred to his own current captain Wayne Rooney as ‘Fat Boy’ while trying to sign him for Chelsea in the summer of 2013.
Mourinho will be asked about Rooney’s current form today and also about his public criticism of left back Luke Shaw after last week’s defeat at Watford. Mourinho could have entered the race to sign Shaw from Southampton in the summer of 2014 but Beasley claims in his book that he told him: ‘He is too expensive for his quality.’
Elsewhere in the book, Mourinho gives an insight into what irritates him.
He told Beasley: ‘There is something I really hate: if you get mistakes because of the unpredictability of the game, OK that’s the game. But when you know the opponent does this, this is the way they play, this is the way they create and you are going to make a mistake on something which you have worked on, you feel powerless and I’m not happy. I feel betrayed because of the work you did.’
Manchester United and Mourinho declined to comment last night.