Arsene Wenger believes Sam Allardyce was unfairly treated by the Football Association.
Allardyce suffered a similar downfall to England predecessor Sven Goran Eriksson in 2006, when he lost the Three Lions job in September following a newspaper sting.
Big Sam is now back in management after landing the Crystal Palace job just before Christmas and will face Wenger’s Arsenal at the Emirates on Sunday in his second game in charge of the South Londoners.
Wenger said: “It is a difficult situation. I feel the whole process tricky, unfair.
“You never know. It was the same with Sven Eriksson at the time.
Sam Allardyce’s management career – in numbers
“You do not know how serious it [what Allardyce said] was. A guy can joke. It’s very difficult to assess that situation. Overall I find the whole process tricky and unfair.
“I don’t know how guilty he was of having done something or not, I don’t know.”
Wenger and Allardyce used to be big enemies and Big Sam admitted in his autobiography that he loved beating Arsenal in his Bolton days “more than anyone” and “the more I could wind him [Wenger] up, the more I liked it.”
And Wenger hinted at, as has been claimed in the past, a clique of bosses who were close to the Godfather of management, Sir Alex Ferguson, and relished nothing more than getting one over the Arsenal boss.
“Everybody is happy to get a result over me. I can understand that,” he said. “You have to analyse the Premier League a bit regionally at the time. Before you had Bolton, Manchester up there and it was a little… I was isolated as a foreign manager at the start.”
But there is now mutual respect between the pair and Wenger backed fourth-bottom Palace’s decision to appoint renowned firefighter Allardyce to rescue them from danger.
“The clubs who are in trouble look for experienced managers,” Wenger said. “And he was one out there who had the experience and the quality.
“After that, all the rest is moral judgement. But he was in a strong position as a national team manager, that means that people acknowledged that he had the quality to be there.
“What he did at Sunderland last year, he has been absolutely sensational.
“The success in every club is at a different level and the job of a manager is to take the best out of the potential of a team and that’s different at every level.
“Sometimes, to take the best out of a team is to avoid relegation.”