Roy Hodgson row: Premier League bosses support England manager

Premier League managers bemoan loss of secrecy

Premier League managers have come out in support of Roy Hodgson after the England manager was criticised for comments he made during Tuesday's World Cup qualifier against Poland.

Hodgson referred to a joke about a monkey and an astronaut while he talked to his players at half-time, sparking claims of racism.

But Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho said Hodgson was "a man with principles", while Manchester United manager David Moyes insisted: "One thing for sure, Roy is not a racist."

By referencing the joke, Hodgson was trying to encourage right-back Chris Smalling to pass to Andros Townsend more often because the Spurs winger was posing such a threat to the Poles.

Townsend told BBC Sport that he was not offended by Hodgson's comment, preferring instead to regard it as a "compliment".

Club manager Andre Villas-Boas added: "Townsend has said that there was no offence and I think we should move on from there. Roy assumed his responsibility, he has apologised."

The Football Association also released a statement backing Hodgson, adding it had not received any complaints from England players who had been on duty that night.

Mourinho added that Hodgson "has my support because I don't believe he was wishing to hurt somebody".

And the Blues boss continued: "The players are the best judges, so when they come out and the kid involved in the situation comes out and supports the manager, there is no story."

United boss Moyes was also disappointed that the furore had tainted England's World Cup qualification.

"It should never overshadow how well England have done to get to the World Cup," said the Scot. "Qualifying for a World Cup is a great thing for any nation.

"I also know that I would be really disappointed if someone in the dressing room had come out and said something which had taken place at half-time."

Arsene Wenger

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger also backed Hodgson but said managers must be "very careful" with what they say.

"We can go a bit overboard at half-time," said the Frenchman. "But all has to remain in the dressing room. It is an old phrase which you know well in England.

"But unfortunately these times have gone, so today you have to be very careful about what you say, wherever you are."

Wenger, who managed Japanese side Grampus Eight before moving to England, added: "I have been aggressive at half-time, but you have to adapt to the culture of your team.

"When you go to a Japanese dressing room, you have to be cautious because what looks normal in an English dressing room looks completely shocking in a Japanese one."

Martin Jol (left) and Roy Hodgson

Fulham manager Martin Jol played down the furore surrounding Hodgson's comments.

"If you know Roy Hodgson, if you know the reaction of the players, I think there's nothing in this little incident," added the Dutchman.

Stoke manager Mark Hughes said it was a shame that the row over Hodgson's comments had overshadowed England's victory.

He said: "It just seems that maybe, along with all the positives that happened with qualification and a good performance, people were scrambling around for a negative if they could find one.

"Unfortunately they have picked up on one thing that has been taken out of context."

West Bromwich Albion boss Steve Clarke said: "Everything comes out now. Everything, from any camp."

Ian Holloway

Crystal Palace boss Ian Holloway labelled the row "ludicrous".

He said: "It is nonsense really, it is just ludicrous.

"I think that is the way the game is these days, you say one thing and it gets misinterpreted and gets taken everywhere else.

"Sky wanted to come in on team talks this year and we all had to put our foot down. When is it all going to stop?"

Former England manager Graham Taylor told BBC Radio 5 live: "I don't think that this will cause any problems with regards to team spirit, and the relationship between the manager and the players."

But Taylor suggested that the row over Hodgson's comments showed that, in the age of social media, it has become easier for private conversations to be made public.

He said: "We're all to blame in various ways, with Twitter and everything.

"Will there ever be a day when a player tweets at half-time what the manager is saying to them?

"I'm not suggesting that anybody should ever do that, or even think about it, but that is the way of our society generally. We all want to know what is happening, when it's happening and why it's happening."

A letter of complaint from a pressure group has been sent to the FA demanding that Hodgson attend a 'race appreciation' training course.

"The 'innocent remark' made out of ignorance is sadly a common feature of football," said Peter Herbert, the head of the Society of Black Lawyers who also runs the new Race For Sport organisation.

He added that his organisation was "using the appropriate complaints procedure to urge the FA to provide mandatory 'race appreciation' training and 'cultural capital and cultural intelligence' training to Roy Hodgson and all football managers in the UK".