Alan Pardew described the touchline scuffle in Newcastle United's 1-1 draw against Southampton as "a bit of panto season".
The Newcastle manager was eager to play down the significance of the melee, which took place late on following Morgan Schneiderlin's tackle on Massadio Haidara, and wanted to focus instead on what he described as a "terrific game".
Jay Rodriguez's second-half leveller cancelled out Yoan Gouffran's opener, which was the Frenchman's fourth goal in his last four matches as St James' Park, as the hosts were denied a sixth victory in seven Premier League games.
But with the late off-field drama - which saw the goalkeeping coach of both clubs dismissed - threatening to overshadow the events of the contest, Pardew downplayed the whole thing.
"It wasn't a brawl and the game wasn't spoilt by that, it was a bit of panto season and it shouldn't take the headlines," he said.
"The battle is on the pitch and that was a terrific one. The one on the sidelines was a bit pathetic, what I saw of it, and best forgotten.
"I had my back to it most of the time. I said to their manager, 'Just get your staff and I'll get my staff', because we wanted to get on and win the game. He was of the same opinion as me."
Striker Loic Remy spurned two excellent opportunities to add to his eight goals this season, including a woefully wayward effort when he was through one-on-one, and Pardew felt that had been costly.
"I'm pleased in a lot of respects that our momentum goes on, because it's a great performance in a lot of ways," he said.
"But we had two big chances that fell to Loic – I thought he played well but those sort of chances you expect him to put away, and that can be the difference in a game that is as tight as that and it probably cost us."
Another moment of unexpected drama came in the closing minutes when Moussa Sissoko accidentally punched referee Mike Jones in the face, but Pardew praised the official for the way he dealt with it.
"The ref's got a bloody nose, he's trying to patch himself up for the Christmas party," Pardew joked.
"He took it in good heart, I have to say. He realised it was a little flick out at the goalie (Paulo Gazzaniga) and it was all a bit silly."comments