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Catania and Palermo in war of words

Former Palermo director Pietro Lo Monaco has taken a swipe at his former club as his new club Catania prepare to face them in a Sicilian derby, saying: "It's not as if we're welcoming Barcelona."

Lo Monaco moved from the Elefanti to Palermo during the summer and, speaking at a press conference, criticised his old club as well as taking credit for much of their recent success.

"I left behind a great deal in Catania - they haven't changed the squad or the structure I put in place there," he said.

"It's not as if we're welcoming Barcelona this weekend, so it is a game we will aim to win.

"I will not salute President Antonino Pulvirenti. I consider him important - like many others at Catania - but I don't want to pour fuel on the fire. I will never reveal the real reason I left."

His remarks prompted Catania to issue a response on their website before what is already one of the most hotly-contested rivalries in Italy.

The response said: "Calcio Catania do not intend to reply to comments that speak for themselves and would like to point out that verbal violence, vulgarity and insults are no longer part of our club.

"We have a style based on the rules, fair behaviour and recognising the value of our opponents."

But Lo Monaco hit back at that, telling reporters: "I didn't offend anyone... let alone could my comments be considered verbal violence or vulgarity. Evidently, someone didn't understand what I meant.

"However, I consider Catania's statement to be pathetic, pointless and absolutely demented. When they talk about their new style, they evidently forget what happened after the Catania-Juventus match, when President Pulvirenti used swear words in a press conference for all of Italy to hear."

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