Toronto FC president Manning says Altidore's comments a misunderstanding

TORONTO – After Jozy Altidore made headlines by venting some postgame frustration on Friday evening, Toronto FC Bill Manning addressed the striker's comments on a Monday conference call with media.

Altidore had called out the Toronto FC president on Friday night following a 4-3 win over Minnesota United FC, frustrated that a trainer, Giuseppe Gueli — whom he had been working with for the last three years — was no longer welcome at the club, implying that his departure had contributed to the hamstring concern that forced him off.

“Jozy made some comments after the game Friday night,” began Manning, “[We] met this morning, had a very good meeting. He didn't have all the information and now he sees what I was working on we're both in a good place and moving forward, in terms of Giuseppe's role with the club.” 

Manning gave an example to convey his reaction upon first hearing the remarks.

“Your son throws a temper tantrum in a public place and you're a little embarrassed,” said Manning. “You get him alone, scold him a little bit, but you still love him. I was frustrated he came out as he did, but I love the guy. And once he had the information he felt at ease, was very happy and relieved.”

“We're close, we're family; he's so important to the club,” added Manning. “I think [our] relationship may actually become stronger through all this.”

Manning noted that any disciplinary action would be kept “in-house” and that the MRI on the hamstring injury indicated the striker would miss 2-3 weeks.

Gueli specializes in ARP (Accelerated Recovery Performance), which combines electric stimulation with exercises.

“He originally came with Sebastian Giovinco. He was on his own island a little bit,” explained Manning. “Specifically he worked with the Designated Players. That was a deal I wanted to terminate.”

Michael [Bradley] and Jozy had spoken about his importance to them and it was important to me that his services be available to the full team,” continued Manning. “Giuseppe and I took the same flight [to Italy]; actually had dinner on Friday night, trying to work on a new deal. Neither myself, nor Giuseppe let Jozy know.”

“On [April] 11 we left for Italy, Jozy didn't know that Giuseppe was going to be back. We're finalizing a new deal where he will be with our club,” stressed Manning. “And Giuseppe is here now. [Will be] on site a few weeks a month.”

“It would have been nice if we told him we had dinner,” laughed Manning. “It could have avoided this.”

Manning left for a scouting trip to Italy with new TFC manager of player engagement Jason Hernandez, hosted by Giovinco's agent Andrea D'Amico, where they took in three matches. Manning then traveled to the MLS Board of Governors Meeting in Los Angeles, hence the communication breakdown.

“I took it with a grain of salt,” said Manning. “Jozy is passionate. I'm positive the things he said were more heat of the moment and not meant to damage me. It's one of those moments.”

For his part, Altidore apologized to Manning on Monday through social media.


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