Koscielny plays down Wenger & Mourinho rivalry: They are friends

The Arsenal and Chelsea managers clashed at Stamford Bridge on Sunday, but the centre-back insists the feud is not serious before joking about his record of giving away penalties

Laurent Koscielny has insisted Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger and his Chelsea counterpart Jose Mourinho are friends despite their recent clash at Stamford Bridge.

The pair have a history of exchanging jibes, with Mourinho most recently refusing to apologise for calling Wenger “a specialist in failure” following the Frenchman’s assertion he is “afraid to fail”.

Wenger shoved Mourinho during the first half of Arsenal’s 2-0 loss following a challenge by Gary Cahill on Alexis Sanchez and the Arsenal defender admits the duo’s professional rivalry boiled over on Sunday.

“It’s a long history of friendship between the two coaches,” he told reporters.

“After Cahill’s tackle, I think the coach was a little upset because three days before Alexis Sanchez received the same tackle against Galatasaray. The player only got a yellow card. [Wenger] flew out of control.”

Koscielny gave away a first-half penalty against Chelsea, bringing down Eden Hazard, and the defender joked he could be in the Guinness World Records books for number of spot-kicks given away.

“It is true that I have conceded many penalties [seven since arriving in the Premier League]. I do not know if the Guinness Book of Records has that kind of record,” Koscielny said.

“I have played about 200 games, and conceded eight penalties for Arsenal and the French team. If I could concede penalty kicks when the score is 4-0, it would be better for sure, but we don’t choose.

“This weekend, there was a penalty. The situation must be judged early on. When Eden comes very quickly, he either scores or I clear the ball. It was toss of a coin.”

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