Nani apologetic after 'thoughtless' headbutt on Neill

Click to follow
The Independent Football

The Manchester United winger Nani has apologised to his team-mates after getting himself sent off against West Ham on Saturday. The Portuguese midfielder headbutted the West Ham captain Lucas Neill during the Premier League win at Old Trafford, earning himself a three-match ban. He also faces internal disciplinary action, with the United manager, Sir Alex Ferguson, saying he will "deal with" the player.

Nani said: "I recognise that my action was a thoughtless one, but I also have to say that I was provoked and attacked. I know it is no excuse, but that's exactly what happened.

"I regret having done what I did and I have to be thankful for the fact that my team-mates secured a win which was extremely important to us. I want to publicly ask for forgiveness, firstly of my team-mates, who were forced into a greater effort during more than 60 minutes, secondly of my manager and coaches, and thirdly of the United fans who have given me so much affection."

Nani also apologised for leaving Old Trafford before the end of Saturday's game and said he had spoken to his assembled team-mates about the matter.

"Believe me, it was difficult," he said. "At that moment I only wanted to disappear. That was what I did. I also ask forgiveness of the fans and the club for that."

While Nani will be suspended for Sunday's away game against Wigan when victory will hand United the title, fans will be able to watch crucial Premier League fixtures at both ends of the table, with three matches broadcast simultaneously on Sky Sports.

All matches kick-off at 3pm, with coverage starting an hour before, as the season reaches its climax with the destination of the title and two of the three relegation places still to be decided.

United can retain the trophy against Wigan at the JJB Stadium, while viewers can also watch second-placed Chelsea's home game with Bolton. Third-bottom Birmingham are at home to Blackburn and fans can monitor their progress in the fight to avoid relegation, too.