Pepe: He was holding me

Pepe believes that the referee was correct to award Real Madrid a last-gasp penalty against Elche for Carlos Sanchez’s foul on him.

Sanchez was adjudged to have pulled the Portuguese to the ground in the fourth minute of stoppage time, much to the Elche players’ protestations.

Converted by Cristiano Ronaldo for his second goal of the night to secure Los Merengues a 2-1 win, the man at the centre of the decision believes it was right.

“He was holding me, grabbing me, blocking me,” determined Pepe post-match.

“I was trying to meet the ball and I could not, we both fell down and the referee has blown for a penalty.

“He had his back to the ball and was not looking. He tried to block me, he wasn’t playing the ball. He was holding me and we fell down.”

The defender also commented on his side’s overall performance, which comes ahead of Saturday’s derby with Atletico Madrid.

“We don’t feel like that we have played well, but we have to continue to work hard and put it into practice on the pitch.

“Elche made it difficult for us, they didn’t give us any space to play into, but we worked hard throughout the match and I think the result is fair

“[The derby] will be difficult. It has been hard to play away from home, excluding the match in the Champions League. We have to be more organised in matches.

“To the fans I ask them to be calm because this is a new year, we have a new mindset and new players are here.

“Let’s pick up the pace and play a great game [this weekend].”

Tags Carlos Sanchez Pepe