LONDON -- Arsene Wenger believes Hull City’s Steve Bruce and Crystal Palace’s Tony Pulis should be given serious consideration for the manager of the season award.
Arsenal will meet Bruce’s Hull side this Sunday in the Premier League and then again in the FA Cup final, while the pressure on Wenger has been alleviated by Palace’s 3-2 win over Champions League-chasing Everton on Wednesday.
The 64-year-old praised the work of both, and said both should be in contention for personal awards -- even ahead of whoever wins the Premier League, including Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers.
“He [Bruce] has done extremely well,” Wenger said. “He is one of the remarkable managers of the season because he has maintained highly in the Premier League because they are safe and he has reached the FA Cup final. That's remarkable what he has achieved.”
When asked about manager of the year, he added: “Steve Bruce and Tony Pulis have done exceptional work. That is for sure... as well, yes, after the guy who will win the Premier League. But I believe the real job of a manager is to take the best out of the potential of the team.
“The easy way is always to choose the guy who wins the league but it is not always him who has done the best job. The real job is to take the best out of the potential of the team, and certainly they are candidates.”
Wenger said he was not all that surprised by Palace’s victory at Everton, which handed the initiative back to Arsenal in the race for fourth.
“Surprised? Yes and no because if you look at the consistency of Crystal Palace's results in the last two months, it is very impressive,” he said. “They have beaten Chelsea and now Everton, so they have some great results. You are not completely surprised.
“They have beaten Chelsea at home, so the question mark was: ‘Can they do that away from home?’”
As regards his FA Cup final fixture against Hull City, Wenger also believes that the ticket allocation for both sets of fans should be improved. The two finalists currently only get 25,000 each, and the Arsenal boss feels that should be improved for the sake of atmosphere.
“I agree with you only. I don't know well enough the rules but, before, I think one of the charms of the FA Cup final was always that the stadium was really divided in two. It's a shame that it doesn't happen anymore because that was always an absolutely fantastic atmosphere.
“I remember I've been at European Championship finals of the nations and World Cup finals and always there's a little bit of a lack of atmosphere because it's so divided. I think the atmosphere will lose a little bit. I'm in favour that they are all there of course. But I don't make the rules.”