Football

Mourinho: Wenger's not my rival

Chelsea may be two wins away from regaining the Premier League title, but manager Jose Mourinho insists he is taking nothing for granted - including his unblemished record against Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger.

The London rivals meet tomorrow 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," he said yesterday. "It's not the other 12 matches that we played before against Arsenal.

"They're a big club with the same objectives that we have. 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".

The Portuguese preferred to talk about his own team this time, including Cesc Fabregas, the former Arsenal midfielder who can expect a mixed reaction, at best, from the home fans.

Mourinho said: "He has made a fantastic contribution to a fantastic season."

Chelsea will wait until after today's training session before deciding whether Spain striker Diego Costa is fit to return from injury.

Didier Drogba will play but Loic Remy is not fit, which could prompt Mourinho into giving teenage striker Dominic Solanke a debut.

Something will have to give tomorrow as the leaders have won their last five away games, while Arsenal have won eight games in a row.

Said Mourinho: "The team are playing in a different way, we are doing our job. We played amazingly well during most part of the season, scoring a lot of goals and controlling the games very, very well by having very good quality in our possession. But in the last few weeks we have played in a different way. We have been more strategic and less artistic." - AFP.

Football