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Jose Mourinho: Arsene Wenger is not my rival
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Jose Mourinho: Arsene Wenger is not my rival

Fola Akintomide

Despite several clashes over the last decade, Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho says that his relationship with Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger is “not important”.

The London sides meet on Sunday with Chelsea 10 points clear at the top of the table. Victory at second-placed Arsenal would mean Mourinho’s team can clinch the title by beating Leicester City three days later. But Mourinho said his unbeaten record in 12 games against Wenger was irrelevant.

“For me, achievement is to win (on Sunday),” he told reporters. “It’s not the other 12 matches that we played before against Arsenal. “It’s a big club with the same objectives that we have in the competitions we play. Because of that always comes a little bit of rivalry. “He’s not my rival.

I just feel he’s the manager of a big club in the same city where I work and I live.”

The relationship between the two managers has often been fraught. During Chelsea’s 2-0 win at Stamford Bridge in October, Wenger appeared to push Mourinho during a touchline spat, something he later said he regretted. In his first spell at the club in 2005, Mourinho called the Frenchman a “voyeur” who talked too much about Chelsea and more recently described him as “a specialist in failure”.

He preferred to talk about his own team, however, including Cesc Fabregas, the former Arsenal midfielder who can expect a mixed reaction at best from the home fans. “If he has some bad reaction he’s more than ready,” Mourinho said. “He has made a fantastic contribution to a fantastic season.”