Sunday Supplement: The panel analyse the spat between Jose Mourinho and Arsene Wenger
Oliver Kay says Jose Mourinho's attack on Arsene Wenger's record was wrong but could derail Arsenal.
Last Updated: 16/02/14 2:17pm
The Times journalist said Mourinho's "calculated" attack on the Arsenal manager's record on Friday was unedifying and typical of the Chelsea manager.
Mourinho's comments had followed Wenger's suggestion that managers ruling their sides out of the title race, as Mourinho had, were scared of failing.
Kay, though, feels that Arsenal's title aspirations could suffer if Mourinho's verbal assaults are successful in splintering the unity at the Emirates. However, he insists Wenger is no failure.
"I think it was unnecessary and I also think it was wrong," he told Sunday Supplement. "There is a different argument and debate you can have about Wenger. Personally, I think you cannot just write off his last eight years as failure.
"I don't think that he has ever had the budget or the quality of players here and now that Mourinho has had at Real Madrid and at Chelsea.
"It always gets personal with Mourinho. He always lobs these hand grenades. We say that he might regret it or it might have been in the heat of the moment. I don't think anything is heat of the moment with Mourinho.
"He is very calculated. Some people love it, personally I don't really like it because I think it is disrespectful to someone like Wenger and I don't like the way it descends into a Punch and Judy show."
Kay continued: "The Emirates has been an anxious place. Arsenal were booed by sections of the crowd on Wednesday night after they drew to go one point behind Chelsea at the top of the table.
"I think Mourinho probably knows it is a slightly fractious around Arsenal and if they lose a match, there can be a knock-on effect. He is very clever at that kind of thing."
Fellow Supplement guest Charlie Wyett agreed that Mourinho believes he can upset fellow managers, and subsequently disrupt their team's momentum, with such press conference tactics.
But he does not believe that Mourinho's comments will derail Wenger and Arsenal this time.
"Mourinho is pretty much despised by most managers in Spain and Italy because he continued to do this and he used to pick on pretty much everyone," he said.
"I think that it does not affect him at all and I think he thinks that other managers struggle with this.
"Wenger knows who he is dealing with so I don't think that he will have been particularly surprised when he heard the comments."