Alan Pardew has suggested that Leicester boss Claudio Ranieri “goaded” his players during yesterday’s 1-0 defeat in the Midlands.
Whilst there was plenty of goodwill between the two prior to kick-off, the Italian failed to shake Pardew’s hand following the final whistle, prompting the Palace boss to reference the incident in his post-match press conference.
It appears as though the main bone or contention for Pardew came in the dying minutes, when Ranieri refused to give the ball back to the Palace players quickly when it fell to his feet on the touchline.
Of course, managers will be keen to keep the ball away from the opposition whilst they’re in the lead, but making a direct attempt to delay the return of the ball to the pitch does leave something of a bitter taste in the mouth.
Far removed from the prickly personality of the former Foxes boss Nigel Pearson, Ranieri is often painted as the loveable, bumbling type, but clearly, there is a slightly more jagged edge to his character than many realise.
Rightly or wrongly, Pardew has stated that Ranieri’s antics won’t be forgotten when he and his players visit Selhurst Park later on this season, stoking the fire hugely for the headline writers across the country, as they look for drama away from the pitch.
You can be sure that both the defeat and the sense of injustice over two penalty claims that were waved away will have played their part in Pardew’s dark mood, but in truth, no manager should refuse to shake the hand of his counterpart at any stage.
Given the nature of the sporting press in this country, you can be absolutely certain that this story will run and run from now on, although if it helps us gain three more points when they do come to SE25, I’m all for it.