You'd think that being 3-1 up against a team that had dominated the game, had a goal unfairly disallowed for offside and missed a penalty, the Sampdoria manager would have been in a relaxed mood. You'd think that, unless of course you were familiar with Delio Rossi.
Q: When is a finger not a finger?
A: When Delio Rossi says so.
The Sampdoria boss had plenty to be cheerful for after a hard-fought win against Roma in Genoa, but he still managed to get himself sent off in the closing stages for needlessly and somewhat embarrassingly starting a spat with the opposition players.
The former Lazio boss had a heated exchange with Roma defender Nicolas Burdisso, eventually sticking his middle finger up at the veteran Argentinian. A confused fracas among coaching staff and players ensued, and Rossi was eventually sent off by referee Domenico Celi.
The 52-year-old former midfielder would later deny making the gesture, despite the fact it was broadcast and photographed.
"It's all been cleared up," he told reporters after the game (in English, via the Italian original on Eurosport Italia). "These things happen on the pitch. I didn't make any rude gesture. Sometimes these things just happen because of the nerves and the tension that surround any big game. But after the whistle, there's nothing more to add."
Not surprisingly, it wasn't an explanation that washed with everyone.
Roma midfielder Daniele De Rossi, who was back in the Giallorossi starting lineup following the dismissal of Zdenek Zeman, blasted the coach, telling him not to always hide behind the same excuses (interview in Italian).
The Roman was disgusted that Rossi had returned to the pitch after the game to accept the applause of the fans, acting as if he'd been the injured party. It's not the first time, said De Rossi, that the coach had caused problems, and he should pay attention to how he conducts himself.
The dig from De Rossi was an obvious one, as many fans will no doubt have picked up upon. In general, Delio Rossi seems a difficult character and has spent much of his career changing clubs. Only the blue side of Rome and a troubled time at Palermo provided any sort of stability.
But his prickly character and nomadic career path weren't what the Roma midfielder was hinting to. De Rossi was talking about Rossi's time at Fiorentina, when he was fired after attacking Adem Ljajic in the dugout—his own player, in his own dugout.
Having beaten Juventus and Roma since taking over at the Marassi, it's unlikely Rossi's in danger of losing his job after this outburst, but there will be consequences and it's a shame, because his Sampdoria side played excellently.
Outclassed throughout the first half, they adapted excellently in the second. Though they were helped on their way to the result by an incorrect offside flag and an idiotically taken penalty from Daniel Osvaldo, in truth, it was a win that the Blucerchiati had earned. It's a shame that the headlines won't be the ones they deserve.