Atletico Mineiro sack coach after row with reporter

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Atletico Mineiro sack coach after row with reporter

Rio de Janeiro, Feb 10 :  Brazilian football club Atletico Mineiro sacked head coach Oswaldo Oliveira after a heated exchange with a reporter in which he needed to be restrained by a club official.

Oliveira took offense to a question from Radio Inconfidencia's Leo Gomide about his tactics in a 1-1 draw with Atletico Acreano in the Copa do Brasil on Thursday. He was sacked on Friday, reports Xinhua news agency.

After angrily accusing Gomide of bias, Oliveira began taking a question from another journalist before abruptly setting off in pursuit of the reporter, whom he accused of using abusive language.

The men were separated by one of Oliveira's assistants before the press conference resumed.

Atletico Mineiro president Sergio Camara denied the incident had an impact in Oliveira's sacking, saying the decision was based on the club's poor results.

"Atletico needed to play convincingly and that didn't happen," Camara said. "Our performance (on Thursday) was worrying and I have to act. Maybe with another coach we can improve."

Oliveira issued a written apology on Friday. "As a human being under stress after a tough match, I reacted immediately to defend myself," Oliveira said. 

"The words that I heard made me angry. I lost control and as a consequence my reaction was irrational."

Gomide denied directing profanities towards the coach.

Oliveira, whose long coaching career has included spells at Flamengo, Corinthians, Palmeiras, Santos and Japan's Kashima Antlers, led Atletico to eight wins and nine draws after taking charge of the side last September.

The Belo Horizonte club said assistant coach Thiago Larghi would take charge on an interim basis.