Arsene Wenger believes Remi Garde has taken a gamble by going to Aston Villa – but believes it was an opportunity his fellow Frenchman could not turn down.
Former Lyon coach Garde took over at Villa Park in November after the sacking of Tim Sherwood but has so far been unable to guide them off the foot of the Premier League table.
They welcome title-chasing Arsenal to Villa Park on Sunday as Wenger comes up against the first player he signed after taking charge of the Gunners in 1996.
Wenger spoke to Garde recommending he took the hot-seat but admits the 49-year-old has rolled the dice on his managerial career in England.
“I think, in his position when you have an opportunity you take it,” he said.
“At his age, do you want the ideal opportunity? You might never get it so you have to take a gamble and what you want is to have chance to show you have the quality at his age, so you don’t think too much.
“In the Premier League you make a phone call now and in an hour I’d have 500 candidates so when you have an opportunity, take it.
“It is a big club, it is a big potential and at the moment expectation is not too high, they do not want him to win the Premier League, so he might be given time to show he has the quality and that is most important.”
While Arsenal look to build on their unexpected progress to the Champions League last 16 after winning away to Olympiacos on Wednesday, Wenger’s side have won just one of their last four leagues games.
Despite that, they remain in the hunt for the title and Wenger knows the importance of three points on Sunday to both sides.
“It will be a tough game at Villa,” he added.
“That is why I say it is important we focus straight away on the Premier League after Wednesday night and that we recover physically and mentally.
“We have showed we have the maturity to focus on both competitions. They need the points, we need the points. So that means it will be again a physical battle.
“The luck we had last week, first of all we won a game that could have gone the other way and that all the results went for us.
“We need now consistency in results because the three games before we took two points out of nine without being away from people – if you want to stay up there you have to take points.”