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Popov issues formal apology

West Bromwich Albion defender Goran Popov has made an official apology to the club's supporters for the spitting incident that saw him sent off in Sunday's home defeat against Tottenham.

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He also plans to say sorry to the coaching and backroom staff and his team-mates when they return to training on Thursday, as well as to Spurs' Kyle Walker.

The Macedonia international was dismissed three minutes into the second half of Albion's 1-0 defeat for spitting towards his rival full-back. He issued an apology to supporters via Twitter on the night of the game but has followed up by asking the club to take matters a step further.

"I am disappointed after this," he said. "I just want to say a big sorry to everyone, firstly to the gaffer because he was so angry after the game and, if I was in his place, I would be exactly the same, and to all the players.

"We played a good first half then, at the start of the second half, their player kicked the ball to the corner and I said something to him. We exchanged a couple of words but it wasn't something bad, just something that happens ten to 15 times in a game.

"After that, when he started to run, he was maybe two or three yards away from me. I didn't have the intention to spit on him - but it looked like that. The referee was close to me and saw that.

"This is not good for me because over the last two or three nights I have not slept too good. Something like this has never happened in my life."

Popov has become something of a fans' favourite at The Hawthorns in recent months and has a song sung in his honour at games.

"I want to say a big sorry to all the fans because it was a full stadium of 25,000," he added. "I've had a couple of good games, was man of the match and Player of the Month in December, but I'm not happy with what I did on Sunday. When the referee sent me off, it totally changed the game.

"The players were angry after the game and some of them - the ones who have been a long time at this club - said to me they are disappointed in me. I want to say sorry to all my friends, team-mates, to all the physical staff and the coaching staff.

"Everyone can make mistakes, life is like this. Football is up and down, but Sunday was not good. When I saw it on the video after the game, I saw that. Tomorrow I want to make a meeting and I want to say sorry to everyone who works at this club.

"I don't want all the fans, players, trainers and staff to change their mind about me. I'm not that kind of player. If I was like that, I would not come here and say sorry to everyone. Never in my career have I had a straight red card like this."

Walker was on international duty with England as they prepare for Wednesday's friendly with Brazil, and Popov said: "I'm trying to get a phone number for Kyle Walker but he is now with his national team. When I get his number, I will call him and just say 'I'm not a player like this, I didn't want to do this to him and a big sorry'. I wish good luck to Walker and England against Brazil."

The on-loan Dynamo Kiev defender will now serve a three-match ban and miss the games against Liverpool, Sunderland and Chelsea.


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