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Melbourne coach Simon Goodwin has conceded Ed Langdon could have chosen his inflammatory words more wisely in the build-up to the AFL loss to Collingwood but says he won't hang his player out to dry.
Demons wingman Langdon raised eyebrows this week when he claimed in a radio interview the Magpies are "a bit of a one-trick pony" and "all duck, no dinner" in the way they play.
The comments lit the fuse for a ferocious contest at the MCG on Friday night, with Langdon crunched by Brayden Maynard and immediately set upon by three more Collingwood players in the opening exchanges.
The Magpies went on to win by seven points, leaving Melbourne in danger of slipping out of the top four by the end of the round.
"Ed's probably one of the more respectful people that I know and he by no means would have been (showing) disrespect to Collingwood at all," Goodwin said.
"I think what he was trying to say is they've got enormous strength in how they play.
"They play fast, direct footy, they transition from the back half really well and they use the corridor well - and that was our challenge, to try and take that away.
"Ed got his words wrong, he puts his hand up to that and it certainly wasn't disrespect to Collingwood.
"They'd won 10 in a row because they'd been executing that very well and they've now won 11 in a row.
"So Ed will put his hand up and say he got that wrong but I don't think we should criticise players for making mistakes when they go in the media."
Speaking on ABC radio post-match, Collingwood defender Jeremy Howe revealed Langdon's words were written on the whiteboard in the Magpies' change room before the match.
The quotes were also circulated in a player WhatsApp group but Collingwood coach Craig McRae downplayed the role Langdon's comments had in the Magpies' preparation.
"There was no initiation (of physical treatment), no targeting. We just had to get out there and do our thing," McRae said.
"That was a bit of a sideshow we didn't get caught up in."
McRae said he wrote the words on the whiteboard to poke fun at himself "because I'm a bit of a one-trick pony before the game".
"I just do the same thing and I said, 'Sorry boys, I'm just going to do the same (presentation) here," McRae said.
"It was nothing about Ed. I actually really respect him as a player and I'd encourage every club to have more of that."
McRae said he likes players showing some personality in the public sphere.
"I'd encourage more of it - speak up - not because we won," he said.
"We're craving that, aren't we? I saw the news flashes light up, you guys (the media) were loving it, and so we should. Let's embrace this."