Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho has admitted he regrets his war of words with Arsene Wenger as his side prepare to host Arsenal in Sunday’s English Premier League game at Old Trafford.
Mourinho had called Wenger “a specialist in failure” and a “voyeur”, in the past while the Frenchman also insulted him.
“We had big matches, big fights, so thank you so much for that. Regret? Little negative episodes, yes I do and probably he also does,” Mourinho said during his pre-match press conference on Friday.
“I always feel the biggest rivals are our biggest friends, because they’re the ones that pushed us to the limit and I think United fans know that, until 2004, for about a decade it was between United and Arsenal, it was between Sir Alex Ferguson and Mr Wenger, and I think that these great teams Arsenal had and the fight shoulder to shoulder.
“It made United better and better. I hope he has a good reaction [from United fans], if not good, not bad at all and from us as a club he is going to feel the respect we have.
“There are little things where it would be obviously better without them.
“Some gestures, some words, it would be better without it, I feel better now without it, no doubts about it.
“But again, when I arrived in England in 2004, Arsenal were the champions and the famous Invincibles. I arrived and for the next couple of years was with them – Bergkamp, Thierry, Campbell, an amazing team – so again thank you very much for that.”
He also said he hoped United’s supporters, who have been fairly vocal in their abuse of Wenger down the years, will treat the Arsenal manager with respect at the weekend.
“They pushed us to the limits, the two matches we played, not at the Emirates but at amazing old stadium, were unforgettable.”
The former Chelsea manager also dismissed reports linking David De Gea away from the club this summer, with Real Madrid set to try for him again.
“No chance,” said Mourinho when asked if there was any chance of De Gea leaving United.