Wenger and Mourinho regularly traded barbs during the Portuguese’s first spell in charge at Stamford Bridge and will meet for the first time since his return to English football in the Capital One Cup tonight.
Mourinho spoke of his new-found rapport with Wenger, calling the Frenchman “a nice guy”, in July, upon his appointment as Chelsea manager for a second time.
And Wenger said: “With all competitors there are ups and downs – you could see that again yesterday between [Manchester City boss Manuel] Pellegrini and Mourinho, because we put our whole heart into every single game. Sometimes we go overboard and that is part of the job. With the distance after, it always settles.”
Mourinho’s keenly anticipated return to England caused a sensation, though Wenger says he expected it. “It was not a big surprise because there was talk about it many times,” he added. “When he left [Real] Madrid, it looked to be one of his best opportunities to come back.”
Mourinho, who famously dubbed Wenger “a voyeur” at the height of their enmity in 2005, upset Pellegrini with his celebration of Chelsea’s late winner on Sunday.