Arsène Wenger praised Manchester United’s ‘classy’ gesture on Sunday after he was handed a commemorative gift by old rival Alex Ferguson ahead of his final game at Old Trafford as Arsenal boss.
Wenger later joked that his generous reception before Arsenal’s 2-1 defeat was because he was no longer considered a “danger”.
The veteran coach was taking charge of Arsenal for the final time at the Theatre of Dreams, and the first time since announcing he will leave the Gunners at the end of the season following 22 years in charge.
— Manchester United (@ManUtd) April 29, 2018
To mark the occasion, Ferguson presented a vase to the 68-year-old Frenchman before kick-off.
Quizzed about the applause he received ahead of the game, Wenger replied: “When you’re not a danger any more, people love you.
“I am thankful to Manchester United because they had a nice gesture. It is the first time I get a trophy before a game. It is very classy from them.”
Wenger chose an inexperienced side for the game, perhaps with an eye on next week’s crucial Europa League semi-final second leg against Atletico Madrid, his young charges losing out in stoppage time to Marouane Fellaini’s header.
Still, the Arsenal boss said that whoever takes over from him at the Emirates will have some great young talent to choose from.
“My successor will watch this game and hopefully he will come to a positive conclusion because I think they are the future of Arsenal football club – some, 100 percent.” Wenger said. “We had a very young team and the performance was positive.
“The players are destroyed because they gave everything and were caught in the final minute.
“There were many question marks if we would be strong enough to fight but the quality was good, the spirit was good, many players stood up. We tired a bit in the last 20 minutes and were a bit more under pressure. It was a negative result and a positive performance.”
Meanwhile, Wenger remained non-committal when asked about whether he would face off against United boss Jose Mourinho again next season.
“I don’t know, honestly. He will be at Manchester United next year certainly and I don’t know where I will be,” he said.
“I have worked at a top level for 35 years without any interruption and I think I am the only one who has done that. I am in unknown territory. Will I take a break? I will be surprised if I meet him next year.”