Jens Lehmann opens up on fighting Manuel Almunia every day in Arsenal training

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Former Arsenal goalkeeper Jens Lehmann has opened up about his relationship with Manuel Almunia under Arsene Wenger when the pair battled to be the No 1 goalkeeper.

Lehmann was Arsenal's first-choice keeper as they finished the 2003-04 season unbeaten in Premier League and became Invincibles.

The following season, the hot-headed German lost his place in the starting XI to Manuel Almunia for a series of games but earned the position back to make a winning save in the FA Cup final against Manchester United.

At the start of the 2007–08 season, Lehmann made another mistake and Wenger decided to take the German out of the firing line and installed Almunia as the main man.

Jens Lehmann and Manuel Amunia were bitter rivals at Arsenal
(Image: AFP)

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Lehmann would leave Arsenal at the end of the season after 1999 appearances, a Premier League title, FA Cup and Champions League runners-up medal.

Amid an injury crisis, Lehmann came out of retirement and returned to Arsenal in 2011, playing in against Blackpool in the Premier League.

Reflecting back on his time with the Gunners, Lehmann admitted things got heated with Almunia but they now have a good relationship.

"[Manuel Almunia] learnt something new in his goalkeeping life," Lehmann told Arsenal.com.

Jens Lehmann enjoyed six years at Arsenal [GETTY]

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"[That] other goalkeepers don't always support him because it's a fight to be number one.

"He wasn't used to it and I was fighting him in every training session until I got my place back.

"When I left Arsenal, I had a conversation with him and said, 'Manuel, I like you very much as a person, but you need to understand that I had to get my place back.

“’I know you hated me, but I never hated you because it was just a professional relationship.' He was very surprised by that.

"Now, afterwards, we have a very good relationship because you realise that it was never personal.

"I always knew that he was a very nice guy and a great goalkeeper as well. His only disadvantage was that he came into the game, the big game, a little bit late. Sometimes it's not easy to cope with the pressure."

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