Darren Ferguson has apologised to the Doncaster Rovers supporter he had a verbal altercation with towards the end of Saturday’s home defeat to Exeter City.
But he says the fan’s criticism of his players - who secured promotion back to League One with five games to spare - was over the top.
Ferguson, frustrated as his side slipped to a 3-1 defeat to the Grecians that handed Plymouth Argyle the advantage in the title race, was seen and heard responding to a supporter in the West Stand during the closing stages of the game.
The Scot did not hold back - and he later told The Star he felt obliged to defend his players after their promotion-winning exploits.
“You’ve got to be careful as a manager because obviously I don’t want to be arguing and frustrated with my fans,” said Ferguson.
“But I think also to shout at the players that they’re a disgrace, I think ‘come on’, I’ve got to protect my players and I wasn’t very happy with the comment.
“Whoever the gentleman was I apologise to him, but I think that’s a bit harsh saying the players are a disgrace.
“I think it’s very harsh.
“It’s not as if you’ve got a group of players that don’t try, and they’ve had that plenty of times over the years here.
“Some of the football and the goals we’ve scored they haven’t seen since Sean [O’Driscoll] was here.
“So let’s get it right. I think that’s unfair.”
n Rovers have confirmed they will have a new main shirt sponsor next season.
Existing shirt sponsors One Call Insurance will now sponsor the North Stand.
The Star understands that Virgin Trains - who currently sponsor the club’s training kit - will become the club’s new main shirt sponsor.