Roy Hodgson has admitted he was left 'mortified' by managerial legend Brian Clough’s verdict on one of his sides.
The Crystal Palace boss, who came out of retirement to rejoin the Eagles following the sacking of Patrick Vieira, began his long managerial career in the mid-1970s with Swedish side Halmstads BK.
Hodgson was tremendously successful in Scandinavia but his side didn’t impress Clough, who watched Halmstads in action against Malmo – Nottingham Forest’s upcoming opponents in the 1979 European Cup final in Munich.
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The no-nonsense Clough, who by then had already won the English title with Derby County, issued a scathing assessment of both sides, leaving the inexperienced Hodgson crestfallen.
“There was a famous story when Clough came to watch my team, Halmstads BK, which at the time was top of the league, playing Malmo, who were second in the league, before the 1979 cup final,” Hodgson told Gary Neville in an episode of the Overlap.
“Someone said to him after the game, ‘what did you think of the game Brian?’ and he said, ‘what game?’ They said, ‘well what you’ve just been watching’.
“He said: ‘I didn’t watch a game, I’ve just watched 20 odd people scatter around the centre circle and if I’d have thrown a hand grenade, I’d have killed the lot of them'.
“At the time I was mortified by the comments that we thought were unbelievably harsh, especially as we were criticised for playing that sort of football.”
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However, Hodgson eventually came to the conclusion that Clough, who led Forest to back-to-back European Cup triumphs in 1979 and 1980, had a point.
“When I look back on it, not only was it an amusing comment but a correct comment,” admitted the 75-year-old, who is reportedly in talks over extending his return to Palace into next season.
“But we were far too young and arrogant to accept it, we thought he should have never said something as disrespectful as that.”
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