England players “overreacted” to the Bulgarian crowd’s monkey chants during a UEFA Euro 2020 qualifier on Monday, says the country’s goalkeeper Plamen Iliev.
The game in Sofia was stopped twice in the first half due to the actions of the home fans, who were photographed making Nazi salutes. The English Football Association (FA)tweeted at the timethat the crowd’s actions were “unacceptable,” condemning the “abhorrent racist” behavior.
Iliev, who plays at club level for Ludogorets Razgrad, denies hearing or seeing any such conduct however, and insists the Bulgarian crowd at The Levski Stadium “behaved well.”
“If I am honest, I believe they [the fans] behaved well today,” Iliev said,according to The Guardian.“There wasn’t any abuse [as far as I could hear] and I think they [the England players] overreacted a bit.
“The public was on a good level I didn’t hear any bad language used towards their or our players.”
Iliev’s comments form part of a worrying pattern of denial on behalf of the Bulgarian staff and media, regarding Monday’s match.