Espanyol coach Quique Sanchez Flores has offered his apologies after praising Barcelona star Lionel Messi in the wake of the Catalan derby at the weekend.
Messi put in a sublime performance to guide Barca to a 4-1 win at Camp Nou – scoring once and having a hand in two more – and Flores paid tribute to the Argentine in the aftermath of the game, having previously already hugged him on the pitch.
Flores’ behaviour caused uproar among Espanyol fans and the 51-year-old has now acknowledged he should perhaps not have shown Messi as much affection because of the tense relationship between both sides.
“I apologise as it was never my intention to hurt Espanyol fans’ feelings,” Flores was quoted as saying by Marca.
“I am dedicated to our cause and I identify with the club. Obviously I don’t know the full 116 years of history of the club because I have only been here for three months, but I want the people to be happy and to enjoy themselves, so I am sorry.
“I do things spontaneously and I try to treat all opponents in the best way possible.
“I have the utmost respect for Espanyol fans, who have always been superb with me.”
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