• League Cup

Wenger plays down Mourinho tensions

ESPN staff
October 29, 2013
Capital One Clash in London

Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger has claimed his fractious relationship with Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho has "settled", as the duo prepare to lock horns once again at Emirates Stadium in the League Cup on Tuesday.

Wenger and Mourinho rarely saw eye to eye during the latter's first stint as Chelsea boss, with the bitter battle over Ashley Cole's move from Arsenal to Stamford Bridge and several media-fuelled verbal spats souring their relationship.

However, Wenger insists the bitter war between the two is now in the past.

"With all competitors there are ups and downs," Wenger told the Arsenal website. "You could see that again between [Manuel] Pellegrini and Mourinho, because we put our whole heart into every single game. Sometimes we go overboard and that is part of the job. With the distance after, it always settles."

Wenger went on to welcome Mourinho's return to the Premier League, as he believes the presence of such a high profile personality is good for the English game.

"It was not a big surprise [that Mourinho returned] because there was talk about it many times," added Wenger. "When he left Madrid, it looked to be one of his best opportunities to come back.

"What the Premier League wants first is the quality of the games and his teams give you always a tough game. That is what you want."

Meanwhile, Chelsea forward Andre Schurrle is relishing the prospect of the game against the Gunners, as it may give him a chance to take on some of his Germany colleagues if both sides opt to name their star players for the fourth round Cup tie.

"I think the manager will change many positions but we have high quality in every member of the squad and there will be no problem for us," Schurrle told the Chelsea website.

"I think Arsenal will change their players, too, and it's going to be a good match. I am very happy to be a part of our squad, and with a team like Chelsea you want to win every competition you are in, so we'll do everything tomorrow to win the match.

"Arsenal are doing well and it's no surprise for me that Mesut (Ozil) is playing so well. I'll be happy to see him and (Per) Mertesacker because we have a good team spirit in the national team and we are all good friends, but for 90 minutes, there are no friends."

Schurrle also hailed the return to form of team-mate Fernando Torres, after his improved display in the victory against Manchester City on Sunday.

"Fernando was very good," Schurrle said of the striker who snatched a last minute winner against City. "He was strong, he was fast, and I think we all saw that he is one of the best strikers in the world. I see him every day in training and he works really hard, so he deserved his goal."

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