Sacked boss Rossi sorry for attack on player

04 May 2012 01:17

Delio Rossi on Friday apologised for attacking his own midfielder, Adem Ljajic, an act that saw him sacked as Fiorentina coach and hit with a three-month ban.

Rossi lost the plot after half an hour of Wednesday's 2-2 draw with Novara and leapt into the dug-out to punch the 20-year-old Serbian.

The coach had hauled off Ljajic with his team trailing 2-0 following a disastrous start.

The young midfielder took the move badly and sarcastically applauded his coach, who responded by leaping at Ljajic and throwing several punches before being dragged back by club officials.

"I ask for forgiveness from the city, the players, the club and the AIC (players' union)," Rossi said, decrying the number of "self-righteous prigs" that had surfaced over the incident and refusing to answer any questions.

"It was a deplorable gesture, but understandable on a human level. I made a mistake and I'm sorry. I paid and will pay the price," added Rossi, replaced by Vincenzo Guerini, but still wearing his official Fiorentina clothing.

"I ask for respect for myself, for my work, for the team I coach and for my family."

Rossi was welcomed Friday at the Artemio Franchi Stadium by a fans' banner saying "A man, a real one."

The club have also been hit with a 15,000-euro ($19,700) fine after racist chanting from their fans.

A group of supporters chanted, "You're a gypsy!" at Ljajic after the incident.

The Serb, who has also apologised to Rossi and the club, will play no further part in the season.

Source: AFP