Mallorca coach Luis Aragones defended himself yesterday after Jovan Stankovic claimed one reason he had moved to French club Marseille was because of lack of playing time under the veteran manager. The Yugoslav midfielder was transferred to Marseille on Wednesday after Mallorca accepted £4 million for the 30 year-old player. At the time Stankovic claimed he didn't want to leave the island and that he was being forced out. He also said he had finally said yes to the deal because of Aragones's reluctance to field him. But Aragones yesterday responded to the comments by saying: “I have to defend myself because this is simply not true. “Everyone knows that Stankovic has never been the same since the injury he received against Barcelona last season. “Even so, he recently played four matches running in the Copa del Rey.” Stankovic missed most of last season after a reckless tackle by Barcelona's Frank de Boer injured his knee in November of 1999. Although he eventually returned to match fitness the Yugoslav international never regained the kind of form he displayed under former Mallorca coach Hector Cuper. “I know Stankovic is special to the fans, but I had nothing to do with him going,” said Aragones. He also pointed out that “a player who doesn't want to leave a club, doesn't leave.” Meanwhile, Aragones admitted that he almost came to blows with a Celta fan at Vigo airport after last Wednesday's hot tempered Copa del Rey match. Aragones intervened when the fan shouted abuse at the team and racist insults at Cameroon international Samuel Eto'o. “I just could not stand there and listen to the insults,” said the 62-year-old coach. Aragones took the fan by the neck, while Mallorca's cool-headed 'keeper Leo Franco restrained him. Earlier in the season Aragones half strangled Eto'o himself after the 19 year-old striker had lost his temper at being substituted.