Sydney FC coach Frank Farina says he has no problem with Ali Abbas’ reaction to his first-half substitution.
The midfielder appeared to get involved in a heated war of words with team-mate Alessandro Del Piero during his side’s 2-1 win over the Melbourne Heart on Sunday.
The altercation between Abbas and Del Piero towards the end of the first half shocked many, with the pair appearing to exchange insults even while the play continued.
The incident was sparked when Farina decided to replace the Iraqi international for youngster Blake Powell six minutes before the break, with Sydney already trailing to Richard Garcia’s goal.
Farina tried to play down the spat after the match and insisted it was his call – not Del Piero’s – to make the early substitution.
He refused to reveal what was said between the duo but is confident it will not be an issue and he defended Abbas’ petulant reaction.
“I’ve seen a lot worse on football fields and in dressing rooms,” Farina said.
“He’s (Abbas) a good kid and he always gives 100 percent. Someone had to make way and Ali had to make way this time.
“But I love that. We can talk about it all day but it’s something I handle within the team and I love fiery characters.
“I’d rather be trying to tone that down than have to give it to people.”
When asked why he decided to take Abbas off so early in proceedings, the Sky Blues boss said: “We’re playing at home and we should be bullying people and we were getting bullied in that first half.
“When you’re getting bullied you have got to respond and that was my response. It was good to see the players can fire up over that.
“I’d rather that any day of the week than people who just accept things that are said.
“It’s not a problem. And I’m not going to apologise for anything.
“I don’t care because at the end of the day if we don’t win games of football I’ll go before any of them.”