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Wenger avoids Mourinho ‘war’

first_imgArsene Wenger has refused to be drawn into a war of words with old adversary JosÈ Mourinho after it was claimed the Manchester United boss once wanted to “break his face” during his time on the Chelsea bench.Wenger said he was totally focused on today’s Premier League match against Chelsea and would only talk about football matters when the quote taken from Mourinho’s biography was put to him at yesterday’s press conference.Wenger and Mourinho have had quite a few clashes while the latter was coach of Chelsea.Mourinho, book which was serialised in the Daily Mail, outlines alleged conversations with a football journalist and includes a mention of an angry exchange surrounding Wenger which reportedly ended with Mourinho saying: “I will find him one day outside a football pitch and I will break his face.””Look, I haven’t read the book and I certainly won’t read it,” Wenger said.”I cannot comment on that. I talk about football and that’s all I do. I’m not in a destructive mode, ever. I’m more constructive and I cannot comment on that because I’m focused on tomorrow’s (today’s) game and how we want to play football.”I have no personal problem with anybody, I respect everybody in our game and I don’t feel I comment a lot on other teams. Sometimes I just say what I think, but that is part of the way I am,” Wenger added before looking forward to today’s game which will be his first contest again new Chelsea boss Antonio Conte.”Honestly for me it was always just a big game and an important game, and the personal rivalry that you suggest existed stronger before was never, in my head, a concern,” he added.”What is always important is it’s a big game. Chelsea in the last 10 years had very, very strong teams. You realise that today as well. Before that period, we were always beating them, after they were always the stronger team for a few years.”Now, it looks like it’s a new era where it’s a bit more balanced again and we feel we are progressing at the moment so we have a good opportunity to grab and to change what I call ‘the inconvenient facts’ of the recent years.”last_img read more

Liverpool line-up v Besiktas: No Coutinho or Henderson for Reds as Rodgers plans for weekend clash

first_imgBrendan Rodgers has taken a pretty big gamble on his quest for a top four spot by leaving Philippe Coutinho, Jordan Henderson and Mamadou Sakho back on Merseyside, but that doesn’t mean the Liverpool boss doesn’t think his side can win the Europa League.With a massive clash against Man City waiting for them this weekend, the Reds’ paltry 48 hours to prepare for the domestic fixture has seen Rodgers take a calculated risk.That isn’t to say that he is planning on fielding a weakened side against Besiktas.While Coutinho, Henderson and Sakho watch on television, in their places are expected to come Dejan Lovren, Emre Can and Joe Allen – three very capable replacements.Liverpool were perhaps a little fortunate to pinch a 1-0 victory against their Turkish opponents in the first leg, and they may require an equal amount of luck if they are to progress to the last-16 of the competition.It is not just on the pitch there is intrigue, with three youngsters all believed to be vying for a spot on the Kop bench.Jordan Lussey, Cameron Brannagan and Jerome Sinclair are rumoured to be scrapping it out for the final spot in the matchday squad, although whether either of them will earn any game time remains unclear.A ‘leaked’ line up has been doing the rounds on Liverpool fan forums.Below is Liverpool’s ‘leaked’ starting XI: Brendan Rodgers faces a tough few days GoalkeeperThis will be a big week for Simon Mignolet, who remains under scrutiny, despite a strong show of form since his return to the starting XI. He is almost nailed on to start.DefenceWith Sakho back in England, the stage is set for Lovren to prove his worth. Alongside him will be Martin Skrtel and Kolo Toure.MidfieldCan has impressed as part of a back-three, but his versatility will likely see him move into defensive midfield. Alongside him will be Allen. Lazar Markovic’s suspension means that Jordon Ibe will retain his place on one flank with Alberto Moreno on the other.AttackLiverpool will miss Coutinho’s creativity, but in his place will be plenty of pace in the shape of Raheem Sterling and Adam Lallana. Daniel Sturridge remains as striker.Liverpool fans, how do you think you’ll line-up against Besiktas? Comment below…Besiktas v Liverpool is LIVE on talkSPORT, Thursday from 6pm. Click here to stream. 1 1last_img read more