Arsene Wenger has admitted that he ‘hated’ Alex Ferguson during Arsenal and Manchester United’s iconic rivalry however he outlined that he has ‘deep’ respect for his achievements in the game.
Wenger and Ferguson battled it out through much of the late 90s and early 2000s with Arsenal and Man United the two dominant forces in English football at the time.
United and Arsenal’s clashes were often fiery affairs with the likes of Patrick Vieira and Roy Keane featuring heavily in a rivalry that is still widely considered one of the fiercest in Premier League history.
Both managers got the better of one another at times during their lengthy stints in charge of United and Arsenal, with the pair retiring as two of the game’s most successful managers.
Arsene Wenger, who left Arsenal in May 2018, has come out with a new autobiography titled, ‘My Life In Red & White,’ in which he details his career in the game.
On Ferguson, Wenger admitted that he and the Scot hated each other at times during the rivalry however the Frenchman still has a deep respect for his former foe and his incredible achievements in the game.
“The competition makes you hate the opponent. I think he certainly hated me and I hated him sometimes as well,” said Wenger, in quotes from his book, reported by The Sun.
“Whenever we competed it was always a fight — always very tight and nervous.
“And don’t forget we also had to deal with Fergie time.
“But when the competition is over what remains is a deep respect for guys like him, for what they have achieved and how long they stayed in the job and dedicated their lives to it.”
In an interview with Talksport, Wenger expanded on his Ferguson point outlining that sometimes he felt the rivalry went ‘overboard.’
“I enjoyed the rivalry. It was a time where the Arsenal players were Arsenal players for life, the Liverpool players were Liverpool players for life, and the Man United players were Man United players for life.
“So that of course exacerbated the rivalry because it was ‘you owe me’ and you hated each other.
“On top of that you had characters – you speak of Roy Keane and Patrick Vieira; Keane was always on the fringe of violence even if he was a great player.
“The rivalry between me and Alex; I was a foreign manager coming in and disturbing his reign, and he didn’t like it.
“He hated to lose and I hated to lose, so at some stage it went overboard.
“But with time, after the competition went, the relationship became better. And today it is peaceful and friendly.”