Jonny Evans has once more denied that he spat at striker Papiss Cisse during Manchester United's win against Newcastle earlier this month.
Evans is currently serving a six-game ban for his role in the incident in the Red Devils' 1-0 win at St. James' Park, while Cisse was handed a seven-game suspension.
The Newcastle forward, who is serving an increased ban because of a red card earlier this season, immediately issued a statement of apology over the incident but Evans has always maintained his innocence.
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The 27-year-old is away on international duty with Northern Ireland ahead of their games against Scotland and Finland, and speaking in his first TV interview since he was banned, maintained that he didn't intentionally spit at Cisse.
"I've said that in my statement. I said that to the FA," he told Sky Sports News HQ. "The incident happened and it wasn't until after I'd seen it on TV that I realised how it looked.
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"At the time in my mind, it was just a misunderstanding from Papiss Cisse. I have sympathy for him because I feel like he was dragged into the situation that wasn't really meant to happen and it was just unfortunate that both of us have got a ban at the end of it.
“I was unaware that I’d spat at the time. I'm sure in the future I'll try to think more carefully about when I do spit but I was totally unaware at the time that I’d done it, so it might be difficult.”
Evans is scheduled to miss Manchester United's next three games, starting with the showdown against Aston Villa after the international break. He will be available for selection for the game against Everton on April 26.
The defender says he is hoping to get some minutes under his belt during the international break this week as Northern Ireland look to take a giant leap towards qualification for Euro 2016 in their game against Finland on Sunday.
"The club have been brilliant with me,” he said. “When the charge came in they let me get on with it and the manager was excellent with me. He just said 'do whatever you have to do' and left it at that.
“I've just got to accept it and move on from it now. I've got these international games bang in the middle of the suspension so hopefully if I get game time here it will be good for me on a personal level to get minutes on the pitch.
“They are at a good time because of the ban and Northern Ireland are performing well. I just want to come into the squad and hopefully I can add something to it.”
Evans maintains his innocence over the spitting incident with Cisse, who came clean almost straight away. Although the Manchester United defender is well within his rights to deny ever having any intention of spitting at his rival, it's hard to escape the feeling that he's been given a rougher ride because of his denial when the video is so compelling.
Now Evans is looking to put that behind him his next battle is getting back into a Manchester United team that has found form in his absence.
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