Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger has come out in defence of Jose Mourinho following his brawl with Manchester City players following Sunday’s 2-1 defeat at Old Trafford.
The 54-year-old stormed into the visiting dressing room to ask the Man City players, who actually brought confetti to celebrate the win, to show some respect.
A brawl quickly ensued, with milk and water being thrown in the Portuguese’s direction before players from both sides went at each other, leading to Mikel Arteta suffering a cut to his forehead.
And Wenger, when asked about the incident, noted that he wasn’t surprised to see such a highly charged encounter boil over.
“I heard about that but I haven’t seen anything, it’s part of the incident that sometimes can happen in big derbies,” he said.
“In fact, you are very good… the press, it happens, you build it up as if it’s life or death, then something happens and after you’re surprised.
“It’s part of intensity and importance of the game, sometimes you go a bit overboard. It happened to us, it happened to them.
“It’s unfortunate, ideally you’d commit 100 per cent, 200 per cent, on the pitch and be an angel after but that’s not always the case.
“I don’t know what happened really, it’s difficult to take when you lose a big game to see the 100 per cent celebration from the other side, it’s an experience like a little bit of an offence.
“When I was in Japan I admired sumo, because in sumo you never can tell the guy who wins, he doesn’t show his happiness because of his respect for his opponent, that shows how deep the culture is, the respect for each other.
“Is it something we can copy? I don’t think so because it’s not part of our culture.”
You can blame Mourinho for exercising questionable judgement here. And yet this somehow doesn’t account for the whole fiasco, does it?
The truth is that, as Wenger notes, we did this – at least in part. In the west we have a tendency to create blockbusters out of absolutely anything, magnifying and amplifying events to a point beyond comprehension until what we are looking at, or aiming towards, is no longer clear and a former TV host is leader of the free world.
Jamie Redknapp, speaking before the game, called it a clash between ‘Good and Evil’ – a hilariously ridiculous claim, regardless of who was which.
And with quotes like the above in mind, perhaps we shouldn’t express surprise at City’s extravagant celebration or Mourinho’s over-the-top reaction, followed by the chaos that ensued. In a post-truth world where something microscopic can be made to seem apocalyptic (think back to the Guariola/Nathan Redmond incident, for example), everything seems to matter more than ever, and as a result nothing really matters at all.
Japanese culture specifically works against the germination of this kind of attitude. That is why only nine bullets were fired by their police in 2016 altogether.
Over here, however, and especially when there’s a particular spotlight on something, we all seem to have our AK-47s at the ready.