Crystal Palace boss Roy Hodgson admitted he “feels sorry” for referees challenged with incorporating a host of new Premier League rules and regulations implemented before the start of this season.
The 76-year-old returned to the dugout at Selhurst Park after illness caused him to miss last weekend’s trip to Villa Park, and disagreed with Fulham boss Marco Silva that the Cottagers were the superior side in Saturday’s goalless draw.
Among the changes this season is a crackdown on having more than one coach inside the technical area, a decision Hodgson will still need some convincing to embrace.
The former England coach said: “I feel so sorry for the referees. All these new directives, which to most of us who have been in football for a long time can’t really make an awful lot of sense, but they feel obliged to follow it through.
“Little things annoy you. Why can’t somebody from the bench, one of the coaches, come and stand by me for 30 seconds to shout instructions with you before being told immediately you’ve got to go back to the bench?
“It’s our job to do that, our job is to coach the players, work with the plan. I can understand if people are crowding in the bench in that area and making a nuisance of it.
“But if you’re talking about someone who comes out from time to time to say a couple of words, where is the problem? How does football benefit from that?”
The two London sides entered Saturday’s contest with almost identical records to start their season, Hodgson’s men having scored just one more goal than Silva’s to separate them in the table.
Both teams had chances, Eberechi Eze firing just wide late in the first half of his 100th appearance for Palace while both Raul Jimenez and Willian were denied by Eagles keeper Sam Johnstone.
Fulham squandered a second-half chance with an overpowered pass, while Hodgson’s introduction of Jean-Philippe Mateta to play up front alongside Odsonne Edouard failed to break the deadlock.
Hodgson said: “I’ve seen many games like today lost by just one goal. We didn’t do that, so the positive is we can be better, we will be better and we got one more point in our bid to move up the table.”
Fulham boss Silva, however, felt his side did enough to deserve more.
He said: “I think overall during the game we were the team that created more chances to win. I think I’m pleased with the performance, just we have to be much more effective in our attack, when we’re in certain areas of the pitch.
“I think we were strong enough with good organisation, very good work from our two midfielders and our two central defenders. Good work from our two full-backs as well.
“I think overall we were the best team on the pitch and deserved three points, even if the game was balanced, of course, but the team that created more was ourselves.”