Milan midfielder Gennaro Gattuso admits he “made a really bad impression” in his Joe Jordan clash. “I'm a nice guy, but not stupid.”
The veteran lost his cool after the final whistle of the 1-0 Champions League defeat to Tottenham and has been handed a five-match UEFA ban for going head-to-head with the assistant manager.
“I made a really bad impression, but respect is important for me,” Gattuso told Le Iene television programme.
“They gave me a five-match ban... they may as well have put me in prison for a month! I wanted to be at the second leg in London, but was advised not to go. There's 37,000 of them in that stadium, I'd have returned with a swollen face from 37,000 slaps.”
The interviewer pointed out that notoriously fiery teammate Zlatan Ibrahimovic did not intervene when the scuffle broke out.
“Thank goodness, otherwise we'd still be there! Alexandre Pato went to the locker room. He was probably hiding in the bathroom!
“It's lucky Antonio Cassano was ineligible for the Champions League. I was meant to be his tutor on how to behave at Milan and he said: ‘What a great example you set for me!'”
Jordan has denied Gattuso's claims he called him a “f***ing Italian b***ard,” but the midfielder revealed more details of what led up to the row.
“Jordan was shouting and saying “This isn't a pool,” referring to Thiago Silva's foul. My motto is ‘respect those who show you respect.' I'm a nice guy, but I'm not stupid.
“In these years of my career I have never hurt anyone, so when I went over to Jordan after the game and he took off his glasses as the sign of a challenge, shouting ‘f***, f***.'”
There was also an alleged brawl in the tunnel between Gattuso and Sebastien Bassong, with Ibrahimovic acting as peacemaker to tear them apart.
“Then Bassong got involved and said ‘You and me.' So I said it back to him. We got together in the players' tunnel, had a full match with first and second half. Bassong saw I was little and assumed I was small fry.”