I’ll shake hands with Wenger before kick-off, says Mourinho

Managers have previous in terms of flashpoints, most recently at Community Shield

Jose Mourinho has said his history with Arsène Wenger and Arsenal will have no bearing on Chelsea's latest meeting with the Gunners at Stamford Bridge this lunchtime and he will offer his hand to his rival before kick-off.

There is no love lost between the pair and they have previous in terms of flashpoints, the most recent at the Community Shield last month, when they did not shake hands after Arsenal’s victory.

Wenger appeared to give Mourinho a deliberately wide berth and the Chelsea manager made it clear this was his interpretation of events, when it was put to him yesterday.

When managers do not shake hands, it is usually portrayed as an issue, but only because it is a discernible sign of antipathy in a personality-fixated culture. Mourinho plans to wait for Wenger in the Stamford Bridge tunnel in order to shake his hand before the game, as he routinely does with visiting managers, although some at Chelsea would prefer it took place on the touchline, where it would be more visible.


Mourinho, who was unbeaten against Wenger in 13 meetings before the Community Shield, made the point that people would be more “focused on what happens on the pitch” and that the past did not matter.

"It's a match that I want to isolate from every possible context. It doesn't matter our fantastic record against Arsenal; it doesn't matter that in seven matches in the Premier League they don't beat Chelsea; it doesn't matter they beat us in the Community Shield. It's a match that we want to win."

Mourinho talked about his faith in Eden Hazard, how the out-of-form winger remained the "best player in England". He is expected to recall Terry, Ivanovic, Matic and Costa to the starting line-up, after Wednesday's 4-0 home win over Maccabi Tel Aviv in the Champions League.

Mourinho’s overriding message, though, was that the Maccabi result had restored confidence to his squad, after their sluggish start to the season, which sees them lie 17th in the league table.