Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has replied to Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho’s mind games by saying that the Premier League title is ‘Chelsea’s to lose’.
Mourinho has become entangled in his own altercation with Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini in recent weeks over who is going to win the title.
However, the Gunners boss believes Mourinho’s comments come from a fear of failure. Both managers have started playing mind games with each other to take the pressure off their players while Mourinho has claimed that Liverpool are the favourites as they don’t have to contend with playing in Europe.
But it seems Wenger that has now entered the battle and claims the pressure will be on Mourinho to ensure Chelsea stay at the top of the table.
“It is very open, only Chelsea can lose it now because they are in front and all the other teams can win it. I’ve always said many teams are in it and it will be very tight until the end,” he said.
<blockquote class=”twitter-tweet” lang=”en”><p>The <a href=”https://twitter.com/search?q=%23PremierLeague&src=hash”>#PremierLeague</a> Review: Chelsea At The Top, Arsenal Held By United and Liverpool Sneak A… <a href=”http://t.co/h2wKL7mHbu”>http://t.co/h2wKL7mHbu</a> <a href=”https://twitter.com/TheHardTackle”>@thehardtackle</a></p>— TheHardTackle (@TheHardTackle) <a href=”https://twitter.com/TheHardTackle/statuses/434280627429322752″>February 14, 2014</a></blockquote>
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Asked why, apart from himself and Manchester City boss Manuel Pellegrini, every other manager is ruling out title success, Wenger responded: “It’s a fear to fail.”
Wenger also claimed that his only focus will be on making sure Arsenal can finish above their rivals come May.
“If you’re not in the race you cannot lose it, if you declare yourself not in the race you cannot lose it, simple as that,” he said.
“I think just that our job is to be ambitious and to try to win, if we do not win to take full responsibility for that. That’s as simple as that and that’s how I see it.
“I say yes we are in it, yes we will have a go for it, we will absolutely give everything to go for it and if we don’t do it I will take responsibility for it, but I just see it like that.”
Wenger added: “We live in a league and in a country where we have one advantage – everybody can think what he wants, (but) it is very difficult when you’re first in the league to distract people.”
Arsene Wenger is also eager to put the humiliating loss against Liverpool. He said: “No, it’s the first team we want to play,” Wenger answered.
“When you can put things right, what you want is an opportunity to do that and we have that opportunity.”
And he dismissed claims that he was prioritising the FA Cup as he bids to end a barren run of nine years without a trophy.
“We will go for any competition we can and the FA Cup is one of the competitions, since it’s our next game, of course, we will go for it.”
Arsenal play against Liverpool on Sunday and Arsène Wenger is expected to risk rotating his squad ahead of the Champions League last-16 tie against Bayern Munich three days later.
Although Wenger is adamant that he will be fielding a strong team for a match he is determined to win, he is likely to make up to six changes to the side that drew against Manchester United on Wednesday.