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Football | France

Frederic Antonetti © Action Images

Rennes coach hits out at 'Italian' PSG



Stade Rennes coach Frederic Antonetti has blasted Paris St Germain as an "Italian side" in an astonishing outburst ahead of their clash at the Parc des Princes on Saturday.

Last weekend, PSG sports director Leonardo criticised referee Clement Turpin for sending off Mamadou Sakho in a 1-1 draw at Montpellier.

"Leonardo said he wanted fair refereeing. But on every decision he mentioned, the referees got it right," Antonetti was quoted as saying by sports daily L'Equipe.

"Everybody wants fair refereeing but what bothered me is that I have the feeling he wanted a little bit more. Paris St Germain are a real Italian club playing in France.

"I had only one experience with this very Italian bench, last season. At 0-0 at halftime, they were up in arms against the referee.

"There is a big difference between the neat and proper characters we see on TV and those we see in the stadium's corridors," Antonetti added. "I saw the true Italians."

Serie A match-fixing scandals down the years have led to a perception among some that Italian soccer has yet to clean house thoroughly.

PSG have several Italian or former Serie A-based players among their ranks and are coached by Italian Carlo Ancelotti, while Leonardo is a former AC Milan and Inter manager.

Antonetti later tried to backtrack from his remarks.

"All the good things I have said about PSG have not been quoted," he said in a statement on the club's website (www.staderenais.fr).

"What I meant is that the staff and the Italian players brought a winning culture. Being able to put pressure (on the referees) is a strength.

"I have a lot of respect for Italian football and for Carlo Ancelotti in particular."

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