Crystal Palace boss Roy Hodgson was surprised at himself after getting involved in a touchline spat with Sheffield United’s Max Lowe as his side enjoyed a winning start to the Premier League season.
Hodgson clashed with the Blades defender, who appeared to shove the 76-year-old in the midriff, midway through the second half after he stopped the ball in the dugout.
His side were winning 1-0 at the time through Odsonne Eduoard’s 50th-minute goal and that is how it ended at Bramall Lane as Palace started the campaign strongly.
“It took me a bit by surprise, I suppose I don’t take many challenges these days at my age, so it took me by surprise,” Hodgson said of the incident.
“It was nothing at all and immediately afterwards Max Lowe looked over and we smiled at each other.
“He obviously realised he hadn’t done a lot to hurt me and I was probably a bit surprised I have got the energy to react in the way I did.”
Hodgson also distanced himself from wantaway goalkeeper Vicente Guaita’s pre-match tweet, which appeared to question his exclusion from the matchday squad.
The Palace boss said earlier this week that the Spaniard had refused to play in pre-season, but he tweeted: “Where is my name? So how can I play for Palace?”
Hodgson said: “I didn’t know that happened, I don’t really think about it at all.
“I’m more than happy we got through today’s game, our goalkeeper was largely untroubled throughout the game, everything he had to do he did well.. What you’re talking about will be something that he and the club will need to sort out, for me it doesn’t affect me whatsoever.”
Defeat for the Blades worsens the gloom around the club following last season’s promotion.
They have sold star men Iliman Ndiaye and Sander Berge and have yet to replace them, with boss Paul Heckingbottom admitting that the loss exposed how far away they are from competing at this level.
But he expects that to improve between now and the end of the transfer window.
“It’s obvious. That’s not the story,” he said when asked whether this loss highlighted the gap. “The story is that’s where we are at the minute, but we’re only going to improve. We’ve sold players so we have got the money to spend to bring players in.
“I can’t be critical, I think we needed the first goal if I am honest. We compromised the way we wanted to play with the difference in the team.
“But I felt by being disruptive and aggressive, we had an impact on the game, especially in the second half.
“To concede the first goal so early in the second half made it difficult. These are a well established team, they have experience, they have some real quality. I have not come away from there scared and the players shouldn’t either.”