Arsene Wenger has explained his true feelings on Tottenham as well as admitting that he rejected the chance to manage the England national side.
The Gunners’ longest-serving and most successful manager won 17 trophies during his tenure at the club from 1996 to 2018.
In that lengthy spell, Wenger oversaw many ferocious derbies with their north London rivals and the Frenchman won the 2004 Premier League title at White Hart Lane.
But the 70-year-old says he holds no ill-will against Jose Mourinho’s side, just a feverish desire to beat them.
In an interview with The Guardian, he said: “Hostility no, competition yes.
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“It was vital [at Arsenal] that you beat Tottenham for the respect of the club. Competition is important, as long as it’s not crazy.
“When you [were due to] play Tottenham, at the start of the week everybody was a bit more nervous than usual.”
One, perhaps, glaring omission in Wenger’s trophy cabinet from his time at Arsenal is the Champions League.
The closest he got to one was back in Paris in 2006 against the mighty Barcelona.
His side took the lead through Sol Campbell, whilst keeping quiet superstars like Ronaldinho, Samuel Eto’o, and Deco, among others.
Despite going down to 10-men in the first half through Jens Lehmann’s red card, the Gunners held their own in the final for long periods, but eventually, the pressure told.
Goals from Eto’o and Juliano Belletti secured the Spanish Giants a 2-1 comeback win.
When asked what the one thing he’d changed that night would be, Wenger said: “I ask myself this question many times.
“Maybe I would just play with two central defenders in the last 13 minutes when we were 2-1 down.
“But the regret from that Champions League year is that we’d beaten Real Madrid with Zidane and Ronaldo, we’d beaten…