Mark Hughes has defended Danny Murphy in response to the furore over the Fulham captain's comments that some managers send their players out too pumped up.
Stoke, Wolves and Blackburn were named by Murphy, who branded some tackles "ridiculous" and "brainless" and insisted managers should take responsibility. Rovers boss Sam Allardyce led the backlash on Thursday by demanding an apology, but Hughes refused to condemn his player.
"You must recognise that Danny is at the coalface," said Hughes. "In his view in certain games against certain opposition, opponents have over-stepped the mark."
He added: "You have to accept that because even as a manager you don't know the intent of somebody.
"As a player I knew when someone was over-stepping the line or just making a fair and competitive tackle.
"There's a lot been said about Danny being disrespectful to the manager, but having had conversations with him he has huge respect for the managers of the teams he mentioned.
"Maybe the fact we had recent history against the teams he mentioned was fresh in his mind and he was giving examples.
"We're disappointed by the reaction to it. You must respect he has an opinion. He was being honest.
"He's an honest guy and has forthright views. He's quite prepared to have his say. He's probably been surprised by the reaction.
"He wanted to make a point. Whether he did that in the right manner is open to debate."