Diego Simeone would not risk criticising the officials over Fernando Torres’ red card in Atletico Madrid’s 2-1 loss to Barcelona on Wednesday.
Torres was sent off for two yellow cards in quick succession by referee Felix Brych after putting the visitors ahead in the Champions League quarter-final first leg at Camp Nou.
Defender Filipe Luis was left angry with the decision which led to Atletico playing just under an hour with 10 men, with Luis Suarez eventually scoring twice in the second half to secure the victory for the holders.
Simeone stressed he did not lay any blame at the feet of his striker and compared the incident to last season’s Champions League exit at the hands of Real Madrid, when Brych issued a controversial second booking to Arda Turan minutes before Javier Hernandez scored the decisive goal.
“I’m not angry with Torres, for sure. It’s for you to find out [if it was fair],” he told a media conference.
“It was similar to Arda Turan at the Santiago Bernabeu last year. The referees are there to decide.
“I’m not saying everything I want to say, that’s for sure. I’m trying to think about what to say about the game and the refereeing.”
Suarez escaped punishment for a kick out at Juanfran during the first half in an ill-tempered encounter, and Simeone said of the Barca forward: “It was more than two incidents, but I can’t say what I think.”
Simeone was nonetheless delighted with the application of his players and has backed the fans at the Vicente Calderon to cheer them to a comeback in next week’s second leg.
“I feel very happy to be the coach of Atletico, hopefully these boys want to continue in this team,” he added.
“Barcelona knew how to handle the ball in the second half, we were stuck in our area and it was more difficult to get out.
“We’re alive. This will create expectation and hope in the people in Madrid. It will be a nice game.
“I’m happy for the team I have. It’s a very difficult pitch and an extraordinary opponent. We’ll look to turn it around at the Calderon and the fans will explode in song, I’m sure.”
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