Roma boss Aurelio Andreazzoli has lept to the defence of Francesco Totti by suggesting the forward did not know who he was elbowing during the 0-0 draw with AC Milan on Sunday.
The Giallorossi captain flung an arm into the face of Philippe Mexes and was swiftly dismissed but his coach says the veteran let frustration get the better of him and did not act out of malice.
"Totti is friends with Mexes, so I think he didn't realise who it was behind him. He was dragged back two or three times and lost his cool," he told reporters.
"It was a shame to see [Milan midfielder Sulley] Muntari sent off too, because it would've been better for all of us to play to our best. I wanted it to be a real test ahead of the Coppa Italia final with Lazio."
The stalemate leaves Roma with a slim chance of pipping rivals Lazio to the final Europa League spot and the coach says a lack of quality in key moments cost his team valuable points.
"We lacked the quality to finish Milan off, as we didn't have clear ideas in the second half and struggled to express our quality at the most important moment."
The 59-year-old, who was employed on an interim basis following the dismissal of Zdenek Zeman, went on to suggest his long-term future with the club could hinge on the outcome of the upcoming Coppa Italia final.
"My future is very clear. The club asked me to lend a hand and I was happy to do that. Now we want to complete the campaign with the Coppa Italia final, then the club will decide what to do," he added.