"I was called son of a bitch numerous times," said Gasperini in an extraordinary outburst after his side's 2-1 Coppa Italia defeat by Fiorentina at the Artemio Franchi stadium.

"My mother took part in the war effort to give freedom of speech to those retards who chant 'son of a bitch'," added the 60-year-old. "I have never insulted anyone. They are the ones who are sons-of-bitches. It's rudeness and boorishness and it's a serious insult to deal with."

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Atalanta president Antonio Percassi stood by Gasperini's comments on Thursday.

"He reacted the right way," he told the website of sports daily Tuttosport. "Atalanta is by his side. The Franchi (stadium) has hit rock bottom."

However, Fiorentina owner Rocco Commisso, describing Gasperini's comments as "very harsh and offensive" said that Atalanta needed to get their own house in order.

Commisso said he and his son were insulted during an away match against Atalanta this season, as was Fiorentina striker Federico Chiesa.

"Nobody said or did anything, except pass the blame onto the stewards," said Commisso in a Fiorentina statement.

"Before talking about the fans of other teams, particularly Fiorentina, I think you should look at what’s happening at your own stadium.....Fiorentina fans deserve respect."

The bad feeling between the clubs goes back to a match in 2018 when Gasperini said that Chiesa had dived to win a penalty, a claim which was repudiated by the Florence club. (Reporting by Brian Homewood, editing by Ed Osmond)

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