David Moyes defends England boss over joke: Roy Hodgson is not a racist

David Moyes. Photo: PA

Jose Mourinho and David Moyes have thrown their support behind Roy Hodgson after the England boss was caught up in a race row.

Hodgson issued an apology after making a joke involving a monkey in space during half-time of Tuesday's final World Cup qualifier against Poland.

The joke was meant to illustrate the need to give more of the ball to Andros Townsend, and the Tottenham winger insists it was a compliment and that he was not offended.

Manchester United manager David Moyes said there was no way Hodgson was racist.

"It should never overshadow how well England have done to get there," the Scot said. "Qualifying for the World Cup is a great thing for any nation.

"One thing is for sure - Roy is not a racist. That is 100 per cent. I know that.

"Also I know I would be really disappointed if someone in the dressing room had said something that had taken place at half-time. Most of the media have now written it correctly and said this wasn't something that was said by Roy. Most people understand that.

"The only disappointing thing for me is that everyone should be patting Roy on the back and talking about getting his preparation ready and getting ready for the World Cup in eight months' time. That should be the focus - nothing else."

Chelsea manager Mourinho believes Hodgson has been unfairly treated.

He said: "He has my support, because I don't believe he was wishing to hurt somebody. I support Roy. He's a good man. He's a man with principles.

"I'm not important. The players are important and the way the players come out to support the manager, in my opinion - end of story. Support the national team, support the manager and let's hope everything goes well with them.

"I think the best judge are the players. So when the players come out to support the manager, when the kid involved in the situation comes out and supports the manager, I think no story."

Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger believes the furore is a warning that even the dressing room can no longer be regarded as sacrosanct.

Wenger said: "You basically want (everything) to remain in the dressing room - it is an old phrase which you know well in England.

"But unfortunately these times have gone, so you have to be today very careful about what you say, wherever you are.

"I must say that I don't really know what happened, but we can go sometimes a bit overboard at half-time. It is an emotional situation. There is a lot of desire and effort in there.

"I don't really know what happened. What has he really said? What does it really mean? You have to be in the situation to know - I don't know really what happened."

Wenger added that what might be okay for one dressing room would be inappropriate in another.

The Frenchman said: "You have to adapt to the culture of your team. When you go to Japan, you have to be cautious, because what looks normal in an English dressing room, suddenly looks completely shocking in a Japanese dressing room.

"You adapt to the culture of where you are, but sometimes you can say one word stronger and that is not politically correct. That can happen to any manager."

Spurs boss Andre Villas-Boas called for an end to the debate.

He said: "I think it was made clear by both - it's the end of the matter. Roy assumed his responsibility, he has apologised, Townsend has said that there was no offence matter and I think we should move on from there."