Tottenham defender Cristian Romero insists he had no ‘bad intentions’ when he taunted Harry Maguire last month and believes the Manchester United skipper is a ‘top player’.
The Argentine, who has impressed since moving to north London from Atalanta, received criticism for his reaction to Maguire’s own goal when Spurs visited Old Trafford in March.
Sergio Reguilon played a cross into the box late in the game which was diverted past David de Gea by the despairing Maguire to level the score, with Romero screaming in his counterpart’s face after the ball hit the back of the net.
Ultimately, though, United and Maguire had the last laugh as Cristiano Ronaldo escaped Romero from a corner to seal both his hat-trick and a 3-2 victory.
Romero has now addressed the incident and suggested he simply got caught up in the heat of the moment, also praising Maguire – though he stopped short of a full apology.
‘I think sometimes things happen in football and maybe if you capture a moment with a single photo it can seem like something that wasn’t really happening,’ Romero told The Athletic.
‘I’ve got nothing but respect for Harry Maguire. He’s a top player who is having a great career.
‘And generally I always respect my opponents so I think people who don’t know about the game get hold of a story and run with it and talk about something that’s not really there.
‘Maybe on that occasion I didn’t quite do the right thing but I had no bad intentions.’
Since United’s win over Spurs, the Red Devils have been knocked out of the Champions League by Atletico Madrid, drawn at home to Leicester and then lost 1-0 to relegation-battling Everton on Saturday.
Tottenham, meanwhile, have picked up a maximum 12 points from their subsequent four matches since losing to United, scoring 14 goals, and now have a three-point cushion in fourth place with a favourable run-in of fixtures.
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