Coventry star Milan van Ewijk has pleaded with fans not to be offended after getting ‘mixed up’ between two goal celebrations and performing a routine that harboured a likeness to a Nazi salute. The Dutch defender was celebrating with team-mate Haji Wright before the awkward mix-up.
Coventry defeated Millwall 2-1 on Saturday, pushing them into the play-off picture to set up an exciting second half of the season. Wright scored twice inside three second-half minutes to ensure the hosts came from behind.
Van Ewijk celebrated alongside his team-mate, turning back to the crowd before performing a ‘salute’ to the crowd. However, Coventry have since deleted an Instagram post that depicted the moment.
The 23-year-old placed his index finger horizontally between his top lip and his nose, with his right arm raised to the air. He has two fingers raised to the air - a key difference to a Nazi salute in which the hand is flat.
After Coventry posted a picture of Van Ewijk’s celebration on Instagram, he personally intervened and commented: “I got two celebrations mixed up… Please don’t see this as offensive!”
Coventry later posted a second, much less provocative image of Van Ewijk performing a love-heart gesture to the fans. He joked in the replies: “Yeah that’s a better pic!”
Van Ewijk, who joined Coventry last summer, has scored only twice this season. He celebrated his second goal - scored in a 3-1 win over leaders Leicester in January - by performing a basic knee slide in front of the dugout.
Coventry’s victory over out-of-form Millwall puts them sixth in the Championship. Mark Robins’ side are attempting to win promotion after losing last season’s play-off final against Luton and seeing top scorer Viktor Gyokeres join Sporting Lisbon.
Robins said: "We've had to work hard for that. We want to play quickly and they made it very difficult for us.
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"We could even have been out of the game as they had a couple of chances. But then Haji planted his foot, had his leg taken away and got the penalty, which I thought was stonewall.
"There was a bit of rock, paper, scissors with the penalty [to decide who took it] but he's taken them before in Turkey. He knows what to do. Then he gets the winner and we had other chances. Haji could even have had a hat-trick as he hit the post too.
"The pitch is not in great nick, by the way, and needs sorting out. We have to do some work on that."