Diego Simeone admits Real Madrid’s referee complaints following Sunday’s El Clasico made him “laugh a lot”.
Real were on the receiving end of a 4-3 defeat against Barcelona that sent Simeone’s Atletico Madrid to the top of La Liga by virtue of their superior head-to-head record against their city rivals.
Cristiano Ronaldo and Sergio Ramos openly criticised referee Alberto Undiano Mallenco following the feisty clash, which saw Ramos sent off and Barca net two of three penalties awarded on the night – the other converted by Ronaldo.
But Simeone claimed on Tuesday that the incident had brought a smile to his face.
“The allegations made by Madrid made me laugh a lot,” the Atletico boss is quoted as saying.
Despite sitting at the summit of the Spanish top flight, Simeone refuses to adopt the ‘favourites’ mantle in the title chase.
“Madrid and Barca continue to be favourites, they have everything in their favour,” he added. “If there were only two or three matches left it would be different. We need to win all our matches and that will be very difficult.
“We need to go game by game because I can see that we have expectations now. Nine matches are a lot.
“We’ll see whether we are ready to handle the pressure of being leaders.
“The reality is that in 40 years Atletico have been champions once. To be able to talk about this situation we need to be in the same position in five matches’ time.”
Atletico host Granada in the league on Wednesday.