MANCHESTER: Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho claimed on Friday he is not shown the same respect as his Arsenal counterpart Arsene Wenger, ahead of their Premier League showdown on Saturday.
Mourinho, 53, has regularly clashed with Wenger, 67, over the course of his two spells as Chelsea manager and his current role at United.
Both men have three Premier League titles each, but with Mourinho having won his last title as recently as 2015 — as opposed to 2004 for Wenger — he feels the media do not give him enough credit.
“In the Premier League, going just on the Premier League, tomorrow is a match between the two managers with the best record. Sir Alex Ferguson isn’t here anymore,” Mourinho said.
“Tomorrow, I think between the two managers we are speaking about, I think (there are) six or seven Premier League titles. I have three, he has three or four.
“Does that mean we should be respected, even in periods where our results are not the best? I think Mr Wenger has that respect from all of you. I don’t think I have.
“Especially because my last Premier League title was 18 months ago, not 18 years ago. I don’t think I get that respect.
“But to be honest, I just follow my way because I want to win a ninth championship and I want to win a fourth Premier League.”
United, sixth in the table, have won just two of their last eight league games and will fall nine points below Arsenal if they are beaten at Old Trafford on Saturday.
Wenger has never beaten Mourinho in a league game and has not masterminded a league win at Old Trafford since September 2006, but Mourinho says those statistics will count for nothing.
“Some records are better than others,” he told reporters at United’s training base in Carrington, west of Manchester.
“But in the end, a football match is an isolated event, nothing to do with what happened before, nothing to do with what can happen in the future.”
– ‘You have your sources’ –
Mourinho confirmed Wayne Rooney was “ready” to face Arsenal after withdrawing from England duty with a minor knee injury.
But he refused to talk about centre-back Chris Smalling’s fitness, following press reports he has suffered a broken toe.
Mourinho appeared to criticise Smalling and left-back Luke Shaw after they missed United’s 3-1 win at Swansea City, suggesting they had shown a lack of bravery.
“Chris Smalling you cannot ask,” Mourinho said. “You cannot ask because you have your sources, you trust your sources, you believe in your sources.
“You write what your sources tell you and you did that for 15 days, so now you are now not going to ask me to comment on your sources’ information, so I don’t say a word about Chris Smalling.
“You have your trustful relationship with your sources and you wrote, you spoke, you criticise, so that’s fine for me.
“You do the big headlines with your sources and now I am not interested in commenting on that.”
Mourinho was more forthcoming on Shaw, who has been troubled by niggling injuries since returning from a double leg break at the start of the season.
“Luke Shaw I comment, yes,” he said. “He worked well in this period where we had a very small group, which is not the best, but he worked really well.
“He is ready to play. I don’t have any problem with him. I am not saying he plays or he doesn’t play tomorrow.
“I am saying that he is my player, a young player with potential. A young player like every young player with little problems, with things he needs to learn, things he needs to improve.
“But he is a player of my confidence and playing now five matches in two weeks like we are going to do, in three different competitions, for sure he is going to play.”