Wednesday 26 November 2014

Wenger stunned by Pulis exit

Published 15/08/2014 | 11:12

Arsene Wenger was surprised to hear Tony Pulis, pictured, had left Palace
Arsene Wenger was surprised to hear Tony Pulis, pictured, had left Palace

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger admitted he did not see Tony Pulis' departure from Crystal Palace coming.

Palace's plans for the new Barclays Premier League season, which starts at Arsenal in Saturday's late kick-off, have been thrown into disarray after Pulis left the Selhurst Park club late on Thursday.

Pulis was named manager of the season for 2013/2014, having guided the Eagles to safety following his appointment last November at a time when the south London club were rock bottom, but went on to finish comfortably in mid-table.

Former Stoke boss Pulis had reportedly been left frustrated by the club failing to push through deals for various players he targeted to strengthen the Palace squad.

Palace issued a brief statement on Friday morning, which indicated Pulis had left by "mutal consent", with several candidates such as Malky Mackay, Neil Lennon and Tim Sherwood likely to be interested in the vacancy.

Wenger revealed there had been no indications of any issues when he caught up with Pulis at a pre-season Premier League managers' meeting at the start of the week.

"It was a complete surprise to me and what kind of consequence that will have on Crystal Palace, I don't know," said Wenger, who is the longest serving manager in the top flight.

"The only thing I can say is that he's done a remarkable job last season and he made a miracle. I don't really know why he left, but it took me by surprise.

"I have (never) seen that (manager leave so close to start of season) before, so you can always be surprised.

"I was at a managers' meeting on Monday with Tony Pulis and nothing indicated that he would not be here (on Saturday) afternoon."

Wenger added: "Maybe Tony Pulis was the manager of the season last year because he took the maximum out of his team during the period he was there - that is the real job of the manager."

Hull boss Steve Bruce also steered his side to survival last season, a year after promotion from the Championship. The Tigers finished 16th and four points clear of the relegation zone.

"Obviously something has gone amiss and what's happened is no shock to anybody because it is football, but straight before the start of the season is incredible," Bruce said.

"You don't take that lightly and I think the biggest relationship we've all got now is your relationship with your chairman or chief executive because it is a really difficult job we all face and if that relationship is not good it's a tough job.

"It looks from the outside to be a breakdown of communication between the two of them and Tony obviously felt it was best to part company now rather than wait."

Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers said it was unfortunate Pulis did not feel he could continue.

"I was surprised when I saw that. He did an excellent job when he went in there, it was a difficult moment but Tony got them organised and (made them) hard to beat," he said..

"He had some terrific results but he has obviously felt the dynamics aren't right for him.

"It is unfortunate he feels that as he did a great job keeping them in the Premier League but someone else will get the opportunity to go into a fantastic club."

Press Association

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