WEMBLEY: Arsene Wenger and Jose Mourinho took opposing positions over Arsenal’s defensive security after the Gunners’ 1-0 victory over Chelsea in the 93rd FA Community Shield here, writes KEIR RADNEDGE.
Arsenal manager Wenger revelled in the determination which brought a clean sheet and a second trophy at Wembley in three months while Mourinho complained that Chelsea had lost to a team who left their positive philosophy in the dressing room.
A single first-half goal from England forward Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain was the ultimate difference between the teams, along with Arsenal’s commitment to laying the ‘Mourinho jinx.’
Wenger said: “It was an intense game. Maybe in some parts we tried to protect our lead but you could see my team was really determined not to give a goal away so sometimes that overtook our offensive potential.
“But we had the best chances and we won against a good team. Maybe for our players Chelsea was a psychological hurdle and they were more concerned to protect our lead than to play.”
Victory was a valuable springboard, added Wenger, because “we have a tricky start to the season with West Ham and Crystal Palace – two derbies – and Liverpool straight behind.”
He also praised debutant signing Petr Cech.
Wenger suggested the ex-Chelsea keeper’s presence was intimidating for his former team-mates “because they felt that to score against him they had to score the perfect goal and then you can try too hard, especially once in the second half when [Eden] Hazard had the one chance.”
Chelsea manager Mourinho thought that Arsenal, “in playing all the second half with nine players in front of the penalty box” had abandoned their usual philosophy of attacking football. Grudgingly he congratulated them for playing pragmatically to win.
He did acknowledge that his own team lacked sharpness and failed to raise their game “to a normal level.”
He added: “At this stage before the season a lack of sharpness is normal. Also the pitch was a disaster, so slow, and the weather didn’t help but it was the same for both teams. It’s not an excuse because Arsenal like a fast pitch and the pitch was not good for football.”