Arsene Wenger has hit back at Jose Mourinho, stating that any manager playing down their team’s title chances has a "fear" of failure.
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Adding further spark to a recent war of words between the bosses of the Premier League’s top three clubs, the Arsenal manager also switched the pressure onto Mourinho by saying that the title is now league leaders Chelsea’s to lose.
The Blues are a point ahead of Arsenal at present, and three ahead of Manchester City, although Manuel Pellegrini’s team have a game in hand.
But despite sitting top of the table, Mourinho has consistently stressed that Chelsea are not title contenders this season, while continuing to talk up other teams' prospects.
Asked why some managers make a point of insisting they are not in with a chance of winning the Premier League, Wenger replied: “It is fear to fail.
“It is very open, only Chelsea can lose it because they are in front and all the other teams can win it.”
Asked to expand on his comments, Wenger said that he would take responsibility if Arsenal do not win the league.
“There's nothing more to say,” he said. “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.
“I think just that our job is to be ambitious and to try to win, if we do not win then it’s 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 I will take responsibility for it. But I just see it like that.”