Arsène Wenger says Tony Pulis’ departure from Crystal Palace has come as a “complete surprise” to him.

The 56-year-old left Selhurst Park by mutual consent on Thursday evening, less than 48 hours before the Eagles take on Arsenal in their Premier League opener.

Wenger has been taken aback by the news, especially after Pulis led Palace to an 11th-placed finish last season after taking charge in November.

he 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

Arsène Wenger

“It was a complete surprise to me and what kind of consequence that will have on Crystal Palace, I don't know,” the manager said.

“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.

“[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].”

Copyright 2014 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to www.arsenal.com as the source Rob Kelly 15 Aug 2014