Diego Simeone has suggested that referees are why Atletico Madrid “have a better chance in the Champions League than the League and Copa”.
Speaking after Tuesday’s Copa del Rey semi-final second leg at Camp Nou, although Simeone found it in him to congratulate Barcelona on their aggregate victory, he also felt Atleti were being held back in domestic competitions by consistently-poor levels of officiating.
“We have to congratulate Barcelona for handling everything very well,” began the Coach.
“Barca was superior in terms of numbers. In football, numbers are what count and Barca were superior in that regard.
“Winning the tie in a minute? A minute? I saw chances for us to win it throughout.
“I leave here with the feeling of pride. After five years, continuing to compete like this isn’t easy.
“The team put their bodies on the line and played with hunger, heart and passion. We went out but with our heads held high.
“There are still three fantastic months of the season remaining and we can keep this up, along with what we did against them in the second half last week.
“When we lost here with nine men [last season], I said something good could come from it, and this time around I feel exactly the same.
“When you fall to a defeat, something good stays within the team. I feel the same as I did last year.
“After the blows we’ve received, we’ve always come back. If I was an Atleti fan, although I’d have liked to reach the final, I’d be proud and I’d go to the Calderon to Sunday to support the team.
“I’d have liked us to play badly and be in the final, but we’re leaving with what we have.
“Referees can be wrong, just like players, but players can be dropped and I don’t know if referees can.
“It’s clear to me that we have a better chance of winning the Champions League than the League and Copa…”