Marseilles (AFP)

Marseille coach André Villas-Boas apologized at a press conference on Friday to a journalist from the daily La Provence whom he had threatened and insulted in Rennes on Wednesday.

"I had a reaction that I regret. The substance of my thoughts does not change but I understand that the form has provoked your criticisms, which are fair. Freedom of expression is one of the most precious human rights . I have no problem with the press or with criticism, but I had a bad experience with two articles which, for me, attack my dignity and my integrity as a professional and as a person, ”the Portuguese technician told the press.

"I had a reaction that a person cannot have, I regret it and I am ready to apologize to the journalist. I had Frank McCourt (the owner of OM, editor's note) last night for clarify my actions. I remain focused on OM, our players and our staff, "he added.

Wednesday after the defeat of his team in Rennes, Villas-Boas approached a journalist from La Provence and gave him "two unfriendly slaps on the shoulder", according to a witness at the scene.

"Thank you eh. Keep it up, I'll catch you. If I'm lucky enough to catch you ... keep it up, that's fine," Villas-Boas had said.

The Portuguese technician had already mentioned twice at a press conference the work of the journalist in question, after an article on his results in the Champions League since the start of his career.

Wednesday morning, La Provence had published a post on this subject.

Twenty minutes after the press conference, the argument continued in the stadium parking lot.

According to another witness to the scene, Villas-Boas approached the journalist from La Provence until the two men "found themselves almost face to face" and "insulted him in Portuguese".

Ricardo Carvalho, Villas-Boas' deputy, then intervened to separate the two men.

© 2020 AFP