Arsenal’s manager has hit back at Jose Mourinho after the Manchester United manager’s comments regarding Alexandre Lacazette, report football.london.
The France striker was at the centre of an unusual side-story ahead of last weekend’s clash between Arsenal and Manchester United at the Emirates.
Having been replaced at half-time of the win against Huddersfield immediately before the United game, Lacazette had been ruled out by Wenger due to a groin injury.
But then he was named in the starting XI to take on United and completed the full 90 minutes, scoring Arsenal’s goal in the 3-1 defeat.
Mourinho aimed a dig at Wenger after the clash and has now followed that up with some fresh jibes when giving out his team news ahead of this weekend’s Manchester derby.
The United boss said: “Do you want the truth? The truth is Bailly, no chance. Jones and Fellaini a chance. Zlatan a big chance & Matic is injured but will play. No stories of Lacazette [or] Silva. All the truth.”
But Wenger has responded to Mourinho, insisting his comments on Lacazette were purely based on what he had been told by his medical department.
“I thought he wouldn’t play but in the end he could,” said the Arsenal boss. “What did you want me to do? Leave him at home?
“I’m always honest. I thought really he wouldn’t play. That’s what I was told. He had a test on Friday morning, then even when he went to the game we weren’t sure if he would play.
“But he tried and he played. That’s part of football.”
Arsenal take on BATE Borisov on Thursday night at the Emirates as they complete their Europa League group stage campaign.
They have already secured top spot in the group and will go into the knockout stages as favourites – something Wenger is keen to play down.
“I don’t worry about that,” he said. “We have a chance to win it so let’s give it a go. We go to direct knockout now. It’s important we give everything to win it.
“That’s why it’s important in these rounds that we give some young players experience.”