Arsene Wenger’s suggestion that Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho suffers from “fear to fail” has reinvigorated an old battle of words between these managers. Wenger was asked for his thoughts on continuous insistence by Mourinho that the Premier League title isn’t Chelsea’s to lose despite sitting at the top of the table, to which he replied that “It is fear to fail. It is very open, only Chelsea can lose it because they are in front and all the other teams can win it”. It was clear from his remarks that Wenger was gearing up for one more round of verbal feud with Mourinho.
As expected, Mourinho fired back in his trademark style labelling the Frenchman a “specialist in failure”. When asked by reporters about the remarks made by Wenger, Mourinho replied “He is a specialist in failure. I’m not”. He also added “The reality is he’s a specialist because eight years without a piece of silverware, that is failure”. Fans have witnessed a more modest Mourinho this time than what they are used to see but Wenger would have known that his remark will draw a bitter return from his counterpart.
Wenger’s comment came as big surprise as Mourinho is not the first and only manager to play down the chances of his team to win the title. Over the time a lot of managers have used the same tactics to limit the amount of pressure on their teams and players during this phase of a season. Former Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini deployed the same tactics the season his City side won the Premier League title. The Italian was persistent in acknowledging Manchester United as the title favourites only to see his team lift the title on the last day of the season.
We are witnessing an unprecedented title race this season and Wenger’s attempted revival of verbal duel has only drawn more media attention towards Arsenal and their performance ahead of what looks like a very close title chase, something rarely seen as a positive. Mourinho pounced upon the opportunity presented to him by the Frenchman, escalating the war of words and highlighting Arsenal’s trophy draught. Even though Chelsea are on top of the table, Mourinho knows that his side is widely acknowledge as a team in midst of transition whereas Arsenal after a long time are considered as serious contender for the title.
By labelling Wenger a “specialist in failure” Mourinho has belatedly tried to reopen the wounds of Arsenal and their manager. Successfully diverting the media attention on Arsenal and creating a psychological pressure on Wenger to win in order to shrug off the criticism.
This article first appeared at SPEAKING MY MIND