Ernesto Valverde refuses to criticise referee after controversial Real Sociedad draw

Barcelona boss declined to criticise referee Javier Rojas after he rejected their late penalty appeals in the 2-2 draw at Real Sociedad.

Rojas awarded an 11th minute penalty, after consulting VAR, with Sergio Busquets penalised for a pull on Sociedad defender Diego Llorente, much to the anger of the Spanish international.

However he refused to go to double check his late call not to give a penalty against Llorente for a similar foul on Gerard Pique, and Valverde was ambiguous in his post-match interview.

"I am not a referee, so I do not know if it was a penalty (on Llorente)," he told reporters from Marca at full time.

"Players are told about shirt pulling in the box, so these incidents have to be very clear to give a penalty."

"As for the situation with Pique, that is the referee's decision."

Despite Valverde opting to remain neutral on Rojas' decision not to award a spot kick, Barcelona midfield pair Busquets and Frenkie De Jong disagreed with the call.

"The Pique incident was a clearer penalty than the one I conceded," said Spanish international Busquets.

"Controversy is always a factor in football, but if this is the bar for contact in the box, then it is going to be difficult to maintain."

"I do not know why VAR did not intervene with the foul on Pique, they should be acting in these situations."

Whilst De Jong stated that if the Llorente foul was a penalty, then Pique should have been awarded a late penalty, with VAR at least consulted.

Tags Ernesto Valverde Gerard Pique
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