Man Utd legend Sir Alex Ferguson claims his relationship with former Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger became “toxic” for a while.
Wenger and Ferguson enjoyed a long rivalry, especially in the late nineties and early 2000s when Arsenal were competing for Premier League titles.
There were many brilliant matches between the two clubs during that era but Ferguson admits he was constantly “looking in the rear-view mirror” for Wenger.
“It became toxic for a while,” said Ferguson (via the Metro). “The big change that made Arsenal was reinventing [Thierry] Henry. And the goals… he was fantastic.
“You’re always looking in the rear-view mirror to see who’s coming up behind you, and when you see someone you accelerate.
“Arsenal were catching us up, and their team was good enough to go above us, there’s no question about that.”
And Wenger has claimed that he was one of the only people in the Premier League who wasn’t scared of the former Man Utd boss.
“Everyone was scared of him, from the press to the referees,” said Wenger.
“I thought that’s a good opportunity for me to show that it’s not only in England that you know how to play football. I was ready for the fight.
“It was sometimes very aggressive, especially after the games. When you’re fighting to win, you are two lions. Your only one desire is to eat the lion who is against you. I was not scared of anybody in football.”
Former Arsenal goalkeeper Jens Lehmann recalled a time when Wenger and Ferguson “almost started to fight” in the tunnel after a match between Arsenal and Man Utd.
“I remember after that game I wasn’t looking into the eyes of my teammates I was looking into the eyes of Arsene,” Lehmann told beIN Sports in May last year.
“He was having Alex Ferguson at a short distance like that [clenches fist].
“He grabbed him and each of them were very angry with each other and almost started to fight with each other. It wasn’t about me or the players it was more about the manager.
“I came in late and I remember that there were two crowds of people confront each other and I spilt some of my water onto them, accidentally of course.
“It was funny to watch, I wasn’t involved. You always expect me to be involved but I wasn’t in this situation.
“We were talking (on the Monday at the training ground) but we were waiting for fines to be handed out and of course to United.”