Paris (AFP) – Nantes head coach Claudio Ranieri admitted he “deserved” to be sent to the stands after his dismissal during Sunday’s 1-0 win over Angers for putting his hands on the fourth official.

With the Italian’s side leading in the 50th minute, Ranieri was sent off for remonstrating with the official on the sidelines.

“The sanction was fair because I touched the fourth official to show the foul I saw,” Ranieri explained after appearing to attempt to replicate an on-field challenge on the unassuming official.

“I’m sorry, I’m sorry. This is the first time I’ve touched a referee, but the second time I’ve been sent to the stand, if I remember correctly.”

The 66-year-old has been a revelation at the Stade de la Beaujoire this season after being sacked by Leicester City in February, less than a year after leading them to an incredible Premier League title.

Nantes’ win, sealed by a 24th-minute Emiliano Sala penalty, kept them four points clear of Nice in fifth place in the Ligue 1 table.

Lucien Favre’s Nice continued their excellent recent form with a fourth straight league win, as Mario Balotelli’s eighth goal in as many games saw them edge out Bordeaux 1-0.