Montella pleads with ref to admit error

Fiorentina coach Vincenzo Montella has asked referee Andrea Gervasoni to do some soul-searching and admit he got it wrong in sending off Borja Valero on Monday.

Viola trio face sanctions

The Spanish midfielder has been handed a four-game ban for the red card, which came late in his side's 2-2 draw at Parma. The minimum one-game suspension for the offence was aggravated by the player pushing the referee, according to the Gervasoni's official report of the incident.

Montella says there was no such push and no reason to send Valero and Parma's Gianni Munari off either, and he hopes both the referee and the Lega Serie A will reconsider their "mistake".

"At times, it just takes a bit of humbleness to say that you got it wrong," he said at a news conference in Florence. "In three years, I've never complained about refereeing mistakes and now it seems paradoxical because I'm the one protesting. As far as Borja's concerned, I expect his suspension to be practically wiped out because it does not reflect the truth -- there was no push."

Valero also spoke about the incident on Thursday, pleading his innocence. "Mistakes happen everywhere, but I think the television pictures are clear. I did nothing to earn a red card, and certainly not to be banned for four matches," he said. "I've never behaved badly and I never will do. Nothing that the referee wrote is even close to reality.

"I'm sorry and I feel let down by the whole system. There has been a lack of respect towards me as a footballer and as a human. The referee has not written the truth. All I did was separate two players, even getting hit in the process.

"I never did anything against the referee and I didn't push him either. I don't want to protest too much about these things, but what I do think is that there has been a lack of respect, in addition to the suspension. I still don't know why I was sent off. I had to explain to my child why I had to leave the field, but I didn't know how."