Italy coach Antonio Conte has reportedly received death threats from angry Juventus fans over the treatment of injured midfielder Claudio Marchisio.
Marchisio ruptured knee ligaments while warming up for a training session on the eve of Italy’s Euro 2016 qualifier against Bulgaria in Sofia.
Juventus fans reacted angrily to the news that their midfielder was likely to miss the rest of the season because of the injury and Conte was criticised by John Elkann, the president of the holding company which controls the club.
"Perhaps he’d like to be remembered as the cherry-picker with the highest number of injuries," Elkann was quoted as saying in Italian media.
Some Juve supporters took their anger to an extreme by threatening to kill their former manager, according to Carlo Tavecchio, the president of the Italian Football Federation (FIGC).
He told Radio Rai on Saturday: "I saw him [Conte] shaken this morning.
"After yesterday’s controversy, he received death threats on the internet. I met with Conte for a long time and he is not calm.
"All these things have been said on social networks and he feels vilified for something that is not his fault. The FIGC stands by him."
Conte, who played over 400 times for Juve and managed them from 2011 to 2014, defended his methods. "I wonder why Elkann didn’t ask me that when I was at Juventus? We don’t work hard, we work well," he told a news conference in Bulgaria.
"His [Marchisio’s] injury was absurd and inexplicable. He hurt himself while warming up, running without the ball."
Given that Tuesday’s friendly against England is taking place at the Juventus Stadium, Conte is likely to receive a hostile reception from supporters of the Serie A leaders.
Conte has dropped just two points in qualification – against Group H leaders Croatia – since he replaced Cesare Prandelli, who resigned after Italy were knocked out of the World Cup at the group stages.
The Azzurri’s only victory in Brazil came against England, who travel to Turin on the back of a 4-0 win over Lithuania.