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50-50: Liverpool vs. Real Madrid

Champions League 12 hours ago
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By ESPN Staff
May 2, 2012

Fiorentina sack Delio Rossi

Fiorentina have sacked coach Delio Rossi after he physically attacked midfielder Adem Ljajic in response to the player's dissent at being substituted in the 2-2 draw with Novara.

Delio Rossi sacked after attacking player

The attack came after the player's dissent at being substituted just 32 minutes into the match.

Fiorentina president Andrea Della Valle told Sky Sports in Italy, in quotes reported on the club's official website: "At the end of the match I saw pictures of what happened on the bench when Ljajic was substituted.

"I made the decision to sack the coach for an act that was very serious. Tomorrow morning we'll talk calmly.

"I'm sorry for the coach who is a good person and does not deserve it, but tonight he committed a serious act."

Della Valle later released a statement on the club's official website, saying: "In a few seconds months of stress came out. I am sorry because the coach has never committed acts of this kind.

"For his own good to make him understand he has made a mistake I had to take this decision. No provocation justifies this reaction."

Della Valle confirmed Ljajic would also face action for his part in the incident. But he said he would wait to announce who would take charge of the side for the rest of the season.

"Also for respect of the person with whom I believed in to reconstruct Fiorentina I will say nothing official until tomorrow," he added.

"Then you will know who will be given the reins of the team. We will also take proportionate measures against Ljajic. Rossi has not justified it to me but he is someone who has never done anything like this.

"I am sorry also that in the 10th year of my reign and with what he has brought - we have won at Milan and Roma and I believed this evening we would have achieved safety, certainly not that I would have to take a decision like this."

The dramatic events unfolded as the Viola fought to confirm their Serie A status. The point was enough to put them six points clear of the drop zone with two games remaining.

Fiorentina are all but certain to be in the top flight next season, but it does not mask what has been a difficult campaign. And it seems the pressure got to Rossi, who replaced Sinisa Mihajlovic at the helm in November.

Television pictures clearly show the coach attacking Ljajic as he took his place on the bench. The player appeared to sarcastically clap his coach's decision to substitute him, and Rossi responded by throwing punches as others on the bench attempted to restrain him.

Fiorentina were 2-0 down at the time, but battled back to claim an important point. And Della Valle wants to see more of that kind of spirit as they look to recover from the shock of Rossi's departure.

"This team needs unity to get away from the relegation situation," he said. "I know now that Delio Rossi is suffering more than anyone. But I want to respect the work he has done until now."

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