Arsene Wenger ‘completely surprised’ by Pulis’s Palace exit

Arsene Wenger In Emirates Press Conference

The Arsenal manager was taken aback by Tony Pulis's Crystal Palace departure.

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger says that he was shocked to see Tony Pulis part company with Crystal Palace after the Welshman "made a miracle" at Selhurst Park last season.

Pulis left Palace by mutual consent on Thursday, just two days before the start of the new Premier League season, after a dispute with the club's board over transfer funds.

Wenger, whose Arsenal side face the now managerless Crystal Palace in their Premier League opener this evening, said that the news came as a "complete surprise" to him given Palace's impressive performances under Pulis last season.

“It was a complete surprise to me and what kind of consequence that will have on Crystal Palace, I don't know,” the Frenchman said in his pre-match press conference ahead of Saturday's game.

“[Pulis] did a remarkable job last season and he made a miracle. I don't really know why he left but it took me by surprise.

“You can always be surprised. I was at a manager's meeting on Monday with Tony Pulis and nothing indicated that he would not be here [on Saturday].

“The only thing we can do is prepare ourselves to face a tough opponent and I think the importance of the game, plus the fact that it's the first game of the season, means Crystal Palace will be focused and motivated."

Wenger and Pulis have butted heads several times since the Welshman's Stoke City side were promoted to the Premier League in 2008.

The two managers are opposites in seemingly every possible way - from their own personal brands of football to their approaches to man management. Pulis is as intense and energetic as Wenger is calm and calculating.

Wenger's comments suggest a genuine respect for what Pulis achieved last season at Selhurst Park, however, and the Arsenal manager no doubt expects to see his rival back in the Premier League sooner rather than later.

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