14 October 2020

Wenger on how he hated ex-Man Utd boss Ferguson and his views on Ozil and Project Big Picture

Former Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has revealed he both hated and respected Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson during their time as rivals.

Wenger and Ferguson went head-to-head for almost 20 years in the Premier League between the mid-90s and the Scot’s retirement in 2013.

Wenger also admitted he had a great deal of respect for Ferguson (Sportimage/PA Images)

And the Frenchman has now opened up for the first time about his feelings towards Ferguson during their years in opposition dugouts.

"The competition makes you hate the opponent. I think he certainly hated me and I hated him sometimes as well," he says in his new book My Life in Red and White: My Autobiography.

"Whenever we competed it was always a fight — always very tight and nervous.

"And don’t forget we also had to deal with Fergie time.

"But when the competition is over what remains is a deep respect for guys like him, for what they have achieved and how long they stayed in the job and dedicated their lives to it."

Wenger won three Premier League titles during his time at the North London club, compared with Ferguson’s 13.

The ex-Arsenal man left the Gunners in 2018 after 22 years in charge, making him the longest-serving manager in their history.

The 70-year-old also spoke in his book about the current problem at Arsenal surrounding Mesut Ozil as the German is seemingly out of favour with new manager Mikel Arteta.

But Wenger, who signed Ozil from Real Madrid for £42.5 million in 2013, feels there is still a place for the World Cup winner at the Emirates as he believes he has proven his supreme talent.

Wenger still feels Ozil has something to offer at Arsenal (Xinhua News Agency/PA Images)

"Mesut has been the record player of assists so Arsenal have to find a way to get him involved again. Otherwise, it is a waste for him and for the club," he said.

"He is at the age where a player of his talent can produce the most because he’s a super creative player who can come up with that killer pass in the final third."

Wenger also touched on the recent Project Big Picture proposal from some of the biggest Premier League clubs, a move he compared with Britain’s decision to leave the European Union.

"England has voted for Brexit to gain back control of their decisions — but in the Premier League you have lost control of these decisions," he added.

“Only the Premier League and the big clubs can save the smaller teams and you have to find a compromise to help them survive or English football will drop.

"But I worry about the domination of the Premier League because that creates a lot of envy in France, in Spain, in Italy and in Germany and they won’t accept that for ever. They want to catch England back and Brexit will be a test for that."

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