Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho says he hopes his counterpart Arsene Wenger will not be forced out at Arsenal after this season.
Wenger is in his 21st season as Arsenal boss but is under widespread calls from fans to end his long reign after this campaign, which will see the Gunners finish behind local rivals Tottenham for the first time under the Frenchman.
Mourinho, who will take his United side to face Arsenal on Sunday, has had a long feud with Wenger, notably calling him a “specialist in failure.”
But all the same, Mourinho doesn’t want to see Wenger’s era at the Emirates come to an end until the manager himself chooses to walk away.
“I feel sympathy for all the other managers because we live through the same pain. Everyone,” Mourinho told multiple English newspapers. “Football has changed. Now it is a game that makes it impossible for managers to stay in their position for a long time.
“Football now means if you don’t get success then you are gone — so yes, I feel bad for other managers. When you are at one club for 20 years it is impossible to have success every single year. Even Sir Alex will tell you that.
“The truth is that I hope Wenger keeps his job at Arsenal. I really do. I hope that the club trusts him to make things better. I think that Arsene is probably the last example of a manager who brings stability to a club over such a long time.
“Sir Alex was the same at United and he was able to leave when he knew it was time to leave. I hope that it is the same with Wenger. Why not?”
Late-season clashes between Arsenal and United have often had title implications, but Sunday’s battle could instead be a battle for fifth place.
But Mourinho, coming off a terrible season in which he was sacked by Chelsea, defended his record with his new club, who already won the League Cup are on the verge of reaching the Europa League final.
“I don’t care what people think about me,” Mourinho said. “I think this has been a good season and it can still be a very good season.
“In terms of my work, I think this has been about rebuilding a team and rebuilding a club. For me, it has been a positive process.
“What people on the outside say is what they will say — and it doesn’t matter. It’s not important to me because I know the work that we have done this season.”