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Sep 19, 2013

Klopp apologises for 'dumb' behaviour

Napoli manager Rafa Benitez praised his side after a strong victory over last season's UEFA Champions League finalists Dortmund

Borussia Dortmund coach Jurgen Klopp has apologised for his meltdown on the sidelines during the 2-1 Champions League defeat against Napoli on Wednesday.

Jurgen Klopp argues with a UEFA official before being sent off at Napoli.
Borussia Dortmund coach Jurgen Klopp was sent to the stands against Napoli.

Klopp was sent to the stands following an angry exchange with the fourth official after he deemed defender Neven Subotic had not been allowed to return to the pitch in time to defend Napoli’s opening goal.

However, speaking to the press post-match, Klopp was happy to take the blame and said he had behaved in a "dumb" manner.

"I thought the referee should have waited for Neven to come back. But he didn´t have to do that. Neven could have come on earlier but was held back because there was a little bloodstain on the plaster," he said. "I apologised straight after the game to the fourth official, the referee and my team as my emotions turned a game we didn´t play well in into a hectic one.

"The second half with a man down was okay. On good days, when the coach keeps his cool, we might get a result. Our start wasn´t the best, mine included. Had we played to our level we could have won the game. In this group everything is still possible. We will not throw anything away. We lost an away game, nothing else."

Klopp, who has been seen chatting to the fourth official in Bundesliga several times, explained that he misjudged the Subotic situation, adding: "I have to take the blame, that was just dumb."

Dortmund were greeted by several unsavoury headlines on their return to Germany. Kicker called the game "a horror trip" while Suddeutsche said "Everything went wrong BVB".

The Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung described a "black evening" for Borussia Dortmund, saying "such a disastrous first half like at the Stadio San Paolo on Wednesday is unmatched in Dortmund’s younger history".

The tabloid Bild led with "Klopp loses his face" and said that the Klopp story was only one of many bitter stories in Napoli, and Berlin’s Tagesspiegel saw a "debacle in Napoli".

Meanwhile, Napoli forward Lorenzo Insigne said scoring his first goal in the Champions League at the Stadio San Paolo was an emotion he is never going to forget.

The pint-sized forward scored the Partenopei’s second goal in their win, a delightful free-kick, and lapped up the affection of his fans on a night neither he nor 55,000 Napoli fans are going to forget in a rush.

"It was an amazing emotion to score on my Champions League debut in front of my people," he said. "I’ll never forget this night. It was all the more easier after Roman Weidenfeller was sent off. We did well to believe in it to the end to get these three points. We were compact, like a big team has to be, and that is how you win games."

Napoli survived a late rally from the Bundesliga side with coach Rafa Benitez admitting his nerves were put to the test after an own goal from Camilo Zuniga gave the guests faint  hope.

"I experienced it like the Napoli fans, suffering a bit on the bench because a coach can shout and scream, but the players don’t always do what you tell them," Benitez said.

"Fortunately we won and we can learn our lesson from it, which is that you’ve got to keep the intensity going to the very end because maybe there was a point when we thought we had already won.

"In such a small group, it’s important to win the first game. We’ve done that against a very strong side. The table doesn’t alter too much, but our belief grows for the games to come."

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