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Wenger surprised by Manchester United's 'classy' pre-match presentation

Alex Ferguson was on hand to present the departing Arsenal manager with a special gift at Old Trafford.

Alex Ferguson, Arsene Wenger, Jose Mourinho
Alex Ferguson, Arsene Wenger, Jose Mourinho

ARSENE WENGER WAS taken by surprise by a pre-match presentation of a special gift from former Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson.

Wenger’s near 22-year stay at Arsenal will conclude at the end of the season and he watched a young side lose 2-1 thanks to a late Marouane Fellaini header today in the Premier League.

Legendary United boss Ferguson was on hand to greet his old rival by the dugouts before the game, with Jose Mourinho also embracing Wenger warmly ahead of kick-off.

And Wenger said he had not expected such a positive response from the United fans ahead of the match, although some home supporters later mocked him by singing “Arsene Wenger, we want you to stay” during the game.

“Very nice, it’s classy and I enjoyed it,” Wenger said to Sky Sports of the pre-match presentation. “I have come here for a long, long time and next time someone else will come here and get a hostile reception.

“It’s a bit surprising because it was not always what you would imagine, but it shows life goes on and sometimes it gets better.”

Wenger rested Mesut Ozil and Alexandre Lacazette ahead of Thursday’s trip to Atletico Madrid for the second leg of the Europa League semi-final, the 68-year-old naming his youngest Gunners side since an 8-2 thumping by Ferguson’s United in 2011.

Despite seeing Arsenal lose a sixth consecutive away game in the Premier League — the club’s worst top-flight run on the road since 1966 — Wenger felt his young team played well.

“It was a positive performance and overall reflects our season, we had chances and especially on counter-attacks,” Wenger said.

“Overall the team performance was positive for such a young team, but of course they were very disappointed in the dressing room. In the last 20 minutes you could see some players are not used to that intensity, but in the first 70 minutes we didn’t really look under threat.

“It’s good to see them in such a strong atmosphere and who has the courage to play, who can win challenges. We know their level but here you discover what they do in the competition.”

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As it happened: Manchester United v Arsenal, Premier League

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