Real Madrid manager Jose Mourinho has claimed that he was responding to provocation from Barcelona when he gouged the eyes of their assistant coach Tito Vilanova in August's Spanish Supercopa encounter.
At the end of an ill-tempered second-leg at Camp Nou, a poor challenge from Marcelo on Cesc Fabregas prompted a mass brawl, with the Brazilian, Mesut Ozil and David Villa all shown red cards in the melee.
Mourinho was caught on camera raking the eyes of Barca's assistant and was subsequently fined €600 for the incident and handed a two-match Spanish Supercopa ban, while Vilanova was himself also fined €600 and given a one-game suspension.
But the former Chelsea coach has no regrets about his actions, insisting that he was simply responding to provocation.
"Football is all about emotions and sometimes you'll get provoked. There are moments when you don't react to provocations and sometimes you do," Mourinho was quoted as saying by Turkish newspaper Hurriyet.
"The situation at Camp Nou was one where we got provoked. My reaction was perhaps not the right thing to do, but it was a natural one."
Meanwhile, Mourinho has claimed that his players view him as a "football icon", which the Portuguese boss feels makes it easier for him to handle the Bernabeu dressing room.
"They see themselves as football icons and then they look at me and they also see an icon (of football)," Mourinho said. "They see me in the same terms as they see themselves.
"It's not easy to manage a squad of players like that unless you're iconic too - so [in this case] there's no real difference in status between them and me."