‘Absolutely sick’ Hodgson hammers ‘disappointing’ Van Dijk and Liverpool in six-minute referee rant

Matt Stead
Crystal Palace manager Roy Hodgson reacts to Liverpool defeat
Roy Hodgson is not a happy boy.

Furious Crystal Palace manager Roy Hodgson dismantled referees, VAR, Liverpool and Virgil van Dijk in a six-minute rant after another Selhurst Park defeat.

Palace led Liverpool through a Jean-Philippe Mateta penalty on the hour at Saturday lunchtime but contrived to lose 2-1 after Mo Salah and Harvey Elliott took full advantage of Jordan Ayew’s red card.

The decision to send off the forward was one of many Hodgson took umbrage with after seeing the Eagles slip to a sixth defeat in eight Premier League games, leaving them mired in relegation trouble.

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In his post-match interview on the pitch with TNT Sports, the 76-year-old made absolutely no attempt to hide his disgust.

“We’ve had a lot of hard ones to take, this is just another one along the way,” he said. “But I’ve got to say, I’m gutted for the players because I’m gutted really about the way the game panned out.

“I think that having to play the game with 10 men for the last 15 or 20 minutes was unbelievably harsh on us. I don’t believe it was worthy of the way we played; the amount of fouls we committed were about the same as Liverpool’s, maybe one or two less. I don’t think we deserved nine yellow cards. I probably deserved mine, so I’ll strike that off.

“But that’s the way the game is going, and I’ve got to say that it’s saddening for me to watch games like that, where a team does so well as the boys did, and work so hard against all the odds, and have to come away having lost two goals to one.

“He’s been on four yellow cards for three games. He’s shown incredible discipline. Van Dijk took the opportunity to get him the first yellow card by kicking the ball against him from a few yards away. That’s very disappointing. I think if you’re Liverpool Football Club, you don’t need players of Van Dijk’s quality and status in the game to try and get a player a yellow card by just kicking the ball against him.

“The second one I thought was a good challenge. Even if it was deemed a foul – let’s say it was deemed a foul, which it could be – it wasn’t a yellow card offence. The only yellow card offence from our side that I would totally agree with was where Joachim Andersen, at the end of the game, gets frustrated and kicks a player from behind. That’s a yellow card.

“We’re talking too much about the referees. The fact is I’m afraid I’ve been in football a long time, and game’s like today make me realise when the days comes to leave it behind I won’t be missing anything.”

Jurgen Klopp gives a thumbs up during Liverpool's win at Palace.
Jurgen Klopp gives a thumbs up during Liverpool’s win at Palace.

Asked what in particular he dislikes about the “the way the game is going,” Hodgson simply replied: “Refereeing.

“The refereeing and the referees. I’m absolutely sick about the handball interpretations. I’m sick about these yellow cards for time-wasting. I’m sick about player behaviour. All through the game we’re trying to do our job, the coaches have set the game up unbelievably well, they’re trying to get a bit of advice out, and every time they step forward or they get even close to me the guy’s screaming at them to sit down again. I’m sick of those.

“I’m not a great lover of VAR but there you are. The fact is that is what it is. We got used to that. I think it’s less bothering for me in terms of the game and the way it’s going than handball decisions and that, that disturbs me.

“What I don’t really understand is we’ve got a referee out on the field who’s certainly made his presence felt today, he gives a clear penalty for the first one and then decides to change it, then he gives no penalty for the second one and decides to change that. Who’s refereeing the game? Is he refereeing the game? Or is the game being refereed from an office somewhere? That’s a question everyone should be asking. I think they do ask it.

“Anyway, I’m in a bad mood.”

Oh aye. At least he didn’t call his own supporters “spoiled” this time.