Arsenal manager Arsène Wenger has stoked the fire ahead of Sunday's Carling Cup final clash with Chelsea, claiming that winning the Champions League does not make Jose Mourinho a 'great' manager.
The London rivals meet at the Millennium stadium for the first cup final of the year and Wenger has wasted no time in adding to the intrigue by launching a thinly veiled attack on his Portuguese counterpart, after Mourinho criticised Arsenal's record in Europe.
'Plenty of managers have won the Champions League who will not be considered great managers,' he told a press conference.
'What is important is that you look at their careers in 10, 15 or 20 years. What kind of quality have you brought through in your work and on how consistent a level have you done it?
'If you would like to compare every manager you give each one the same amount of resources and say: 'you have that for five years'. After five years you see who has done the most.'
Although he doesn't mention Mourinho by name, it is clear that Wenger is talking about the Portuguese, who he has criticised in the past for his voracious spending with Roman Abramovich's unlimited resources.
Wenger's comments follow Mourinho's claims earlier this week that the Frenchman is a 'big example' of someone who is yet to triumph in the Champions League.
Maintaining he has 'nothing to prove' after winning the title with FC Porto in 2004, Mourinho added: 'If you judge me, you have to judge every Champions League manager who has not won it because I have won it once.
'Many managers in the world have not done it. You have a big example not far down the road [from Chelsea]. Arsène Wenger is a big manager in the world of football but he never did it. When I did it once I could thank God for that because I had that privilege.'
Wenger, who is not averse to speaking his mind especially when Mourinho is involved, responded by saying: 'We played the whole league season unbeaten in 2004/05 but you did not see me jumping on the tables every week.
'Winning the Champions League will not change my life.'
The Frenchman also revealed that he will be fielding the youngsters who have already disposed of Everton, Liverpool and Spurs when they come up against Chelsea in the Carling Cup final.
He said: 'I have full confidence in these players and I like to do what I say.'