Wenger congratulates Chelsea conquerors Atletico - 'It's important for football'

Arsene Wenger was pleased to see Atletico Madrid make the Champions League final at the expense of rivals Chelsea.

There has always been a little bit of needle between Jose Mourinho and Arsene Wenger in the past - and now it would appear as though Wenger has taken a little dig at the Portuguese coach and Chelsea in general.

In his press conference this morning he was singing the praises of Atletico Madrid - after they knocked Chelsea out of the Champions League at the semi-final stage earlier in the week.

Atletico won 3-1 on aggregate after goals from Adrian Lopez, Diego Costa and Arda Turan cancelled out a Fernando Torres opener at Stamford Bridge.

But Wenger believes it is good that Atletico knocked out his domestic rivals - and that it is the best thing for European club football.

He said:

“If you take just now the team who played at Atletico Madrid two and a half years ago, you'll find 10 similar players exactly the same. The only thing that has changed is that Falcao has been replaced by Diego Costa. But all the other players played two years ago.

“I would like to pay tribute to what Atletico Madrid have done because Real Madrid [have been] 13 or 14 times in the final. We know what that prestige policy can bring, but it's important for football as well to see that teams who spend less can be in finals as well.”

Of course Arsenal run a similar policy to Atletico, saving their pennies rather than splashing them. Indeed Atletico’s team on Wednesday cost less than Fernando Torres alone.

Chelsea have been spending big for years in their pursuit of glory - and they have certainly lifted more silverware than Arsenal during that time.

So no wonder Wenger was pleased to see the plucky underdogs get one over on the mega-rich powerhouse.

But he did elaborate, and seemed to soften his view:

“You want to think as well that success in football is down to the quality of spirit, quality of togetherness, values of the club, consistency in your attitude and not only just to splash out money, I'm not against that at all but it's important in the game that everybody thinks they can have a chance to be successful.”

But considering the history between Mourinho and Wenger - we doubt the Chelsea boss will be pleased with Wenger’s high praise of their Champions League conquerors.

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