Rennes coach Frederic Antonetti has sought to play down his controversial comments about Paris St Germain ahead of the two sides' Ligue 1 confrontation tomorrow.
Antonetti yesterday described PSG as ``an Italian club playing in France'' and also questioned their sporting director Leonardo's criticism of referee Clement Turpin after last week's draw with Montpellier.
Today, though, he clarified on his club's website: ``When I said PSG is an 'Italian' club, I meant that their players and staff, who have largely been developed in Calcio (Italian football), have brought to Paris a culture of winning.''
PSG's extensive recruitment since their Qatari takeover has seen Italian coach Carlo Ancelotti joined by Azzurri internationals Salvatore Sirigu, Marco Verratti and Thiago Motta. In addition, Sweden striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic arrived from Leonardo's former club AC Milan, while Javier Pastore joined from Palermo and even France international Jeremy Menez was recruited from Roma.
On the other hand, Menez was joined by club-mates Christophe Jallet, Mamadou Sakho and Blaise Matuidi in the France squad for the midweek friendly against Italy.
Antonetti continued: ``So that nobody misunderstands, I have a lot of respect for Italian football and for Carlo Ancelotti in particular. It's an honour to have a coach in our league who has had a career like his.
``The good things I said about PSG yesterday were not reported. I never attacked Leonardo, he defended his club and he was right to do so.''
Leonardo had called for PSG to be refereed ``normally'' following the 10th-minute sending-off of Sakho against Montpellier, to which Antonetti replied yesterday that: ``He was wrong because they have been refereed normally. Everyone wants that but this gave me the impression he wants a bit more.''
The French Football Federation have announced that both Leonardo and Ancelotti will face disciplinary hearings over comments about Turpin.
Sakho is suspended tomorrow while Ibrahimovic serves the second of a two-match ban after his dismissal against St Etienne.
Holland full-back Gregory van der Wiel is also banned, while thigh injuries deprive Ancelotti of defender Christophe Jallet and midfielders Motta and Mathieu Bodmer.
Rennes are without Victor Montano (foot) and Abdoulaye Sane (thigh) but welcome back Vincent Pajot from suspension.