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Mar 21, 2014

Wenger: Mou's mind games don't work

ESPN FC's Shaka Hislop addresses Mourinho's mind games and if they actually work.

LONDON -- Arsene Wenger does not believe that Jose Mourinho’s mind games aimed at opposing managers have an effect on their teams when they take on Chelsea.

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Mourinho has long made a habit of creating conflict with his managerial counterparts in the build-up to a game, and he caused controversy when he called Wenger a “specialist in failure” in February.

The Arsenal boss refused to be drawn on the Portuguese’s comments, while he again took a dignified stance ahead of his 1,000th game in charge of the Gunners at Stamford Bridge on Saturday.

"I represent my club, I don't represent myself and I will behave always in respecting the values of our club, and keep my own feelings far away from that [“specialist in failure” comment]," he told a news conference.

And when asked whether Mourinho's feisty rhetoric in his own news conferences had an effect on his rivals, Wenger offered a swiftly dismissive response.

"No, what gives the teams advantages is performances on the pitch," he said. "News conferences can be for you [media] less or more boring, and I can understand you like some more than others, but the real excitement is the game and the game is on the pitch."

When quizzed about Mourinho's suggestion that Arsenal may go into the game at Stamford Bridge as favourites, Wenger insisted his team were merely one of the pack challenging for the title.

"Well, you cannot say they [Chelsea] are favourites or not, but they are amongst the teams who are fighting to win the Premier League, nobody can deny that," he said.

"The result [at Chelsea] will be linked with the performance of the day. We come out of winning 4-1 against Everton, we drew 1-1 at Bayern Munich and we won 1-0 at Tottenham. We are on a good run, so let’s take the confidence out of this run to make another surprise."

Wenger was then asked about the possibility of ending the season having won the Premier League and FA Cup Double, to which he replied: "Theoretically I like your theory. I like it very much. My job is to transform theory into action. That is what I will try to do and yes it will work like that if we do it. We will give absolutely everything to try to achieve it."

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