Champions League

Wenger: Mourinho is wrong

2011-04-28 16:34
Arsene Wenger (File)

London - Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger insists Jose Mourinho is wrong to claim that Barcelona have been the beneficiaries of biased decisions from referees.

Mourinho launched a furious blast at the Spanish champions and football's governing bodies after his Real Madrid side had defender Pepe sent off in a stormy Champions League semi-final first leg defeat against Barca on Wednesday.

The Real coach alleged that Barca had yet to win a 'clean' Champions League and claimed it was impossible for his team to beat their rivals because football's authorities want Pep Guardiola's team to play in the Wembley final.

Wenger had his own reason to feel aggrieved when Arsenal's Robin van Persie was harshly sent off against Barcelona as the Gunners crashed out of the Champions League in the last 16.

He was censured by UEFA for criticising the referee on that occasion, but he doesn't believe Mourinho is right to put Barca's success down to a global conspiracy.

"It is difficult for me to comment on that because we were involved in a situation like that," Wenger said on Thursday.

"I refuse to believe that (Mourinho's allegations). The day I believe that it is impossible to manage. This season they (Barcelona) had certainly some advantages but I feel they were accidental.

"You have to accept when a manager comes out of a big game like that with a disappointment you can go a bit too far.

"But I refuse to believe there is a script behind the stage and Barcelona is at an advantage.

"I feel they overreact certainly but they play the best football in the world and you have to give them credit for that."

While Wenger believes Barca's play-acting does them little credit, his love of the beautiful game ensures he can't ignore the many qualities of Guardiola's superlative team.

Lionel Messi is the jewel in Barcelona's crown as he proved yet again with both goals in the 2-0 win over Real.

His second goal in the Bernabeu was so good that Wenger, when asked to rate Messi alongside Pele, Diego Maradona and the rest of football's greats, admitted the Barca forward could be the best ever.

"Yes he could be for me. I have not seen all the players but he has great qualities; humility, desire to play, happiness to help the team. You never see any bad reaction despite all the kicks he gets," Wenger said.

"When you look at the numbers you have to kneel down and say fantastic. The guy scores 50 goals in a season in modern football and has 25 assists.

"When you see how difficult it is to score a goal you just have to say it is absolutely exceptional."

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