Saint Etienne, November 6: Bruno Genesio insisted Nabil Fekir's controversial celebration during Lyon's 5-0 thrashing of arch-rivals Saint-Etienne was "a message of pride" rather than of provocation.
Fekir, who scored twice at Stade Geoffroy-Guichard, copied Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo's celebration of taking off his shirt and pointing to his name during the Ligue 1 clash – much to the ire of the home fans.
His action prompted Les Verts fans to invade the pitch and cause a delay of over half an hour, leading to the players leaving the field.
Fekir refused to apologise for his actions and coach Genesio backed his skipper, stressing that Lyon have the right to celebrate their goals no matter which stadium they are playing in.
"It was not provocative or mean from Nabil," said the Lyon boss. "I know him very well, he is very respectful.
"Because of the context of this match, he decided to celebrate his goal in this way. I have no doubt about the message he wanted to send. It was a message of pride. We are all proud.
" celebrate our goals. And the fans don't have to invade the pitch because a player celebrates his goal.
"Otherwise, if we can't celebrate our goals, we have to stop playing football. The purpose of football is to score goals, give joy to your team-mates, your staff and the crowd.
"So I don't see why he would be sanctioned."