Arsene Wenger and Carlo Ancelotti rallied to the support of Sir Alex Ferguson on Friday after the Manchester United manager was hit with an FA charge for improper conduct.
In a bizarre twist to the climax of the Premier League season, Ferguson was hit with fresh disciplinary proceedings on Friday for his comments praising referee Howard Webb ahead of last week's title decider with Chelsea.
Although Ferguson's remarks were innocuous and complimentary of Webb, FA chiefs ruled that they breached strict guidelines issued earlier this season forbidding any pre-match comments about officials.
Chelsea boss Ancelotti admitted he was baffled by the FA charge against Ferguson, who has only recently completed a five-match ban for criticising referee Martin Atkinson in March.
"I think he spoke positively about Howard Webb," said Ancelotti. "I don't think he tried to put pressure on the referee before the game ... I am surprised about this."
Even Ferguson's long-time rival Wenger was bemused by the FA decision.
"It was a shock to the FA," Wenger joked. "They are not used for him to be complimentary."
"He is entitled to have that opinion. To me, it doesn't look to be a major problem to say that somebody is good. I would not charge him for that."
However the FA have obviously taken a different view, particularly after issuing managers with a written edict seven months ago which made it clear that any discussion of match officials was forbidden.
"Pre-match comments concerning the appointed match officials for a particular fixture, whether the official is identifiable by name or by implication, are deemed by the FA to amount to improper conduct, in breach of FA Rule E3," said the letter.
"We wish to make it clear any breach of the rule in respect of pre-match media comments will result in a formal disciplinary charge."
United have refused to comment on the matter, although Ferguson is expected to escape with a fine rather than a ban.