Ernesto Valverde doesn’t feel it is right to discuss the referee for the Athletic Bilbao-Barcelona Copa del Rey first leg.
Luis Enrique on Tuesday expressed surprise that Jose Luis Gonzalez Gonzalez had been assigned to the game after he took charge of a fiery Espanyol-Barca derby earlier in January.
“It’s not fair to condition the referee,” Valverde said at his pre-match Press conference, AS reports.
“I don’t try to look beyond. Who is it, Hernandez Hernandez? Ah, no, Gonzalez Gonzalez. Was he the Supercopa de Espana referee? That’s better for us. We don’t have any complaint. I don’t look at the referee appointments.
“[Talking about referees] is a trend that gets a lot of play with the Press. I wonder if they’re looking for a benefit. I respect what Enrique said. I imagine he was referring to the Espanyol game.
“I don’t put any value on that. It’s easy to talk about referees. We talked in Seville about a penalty that wasn’t, because the card for Aymeric Laporte was removed.
“It seems like the intent is to influence the referee. It bothers me that referees can’t withstand the pull of publicity, the pressure to which players and Coaches are submitted.
“There are times we pressure the referee on the pitch. It doesn’t seem fair. Leave them in peace. That would be best for everyone.”