Referee Undiano Mallenco was labelled “disgraceful” by Valencia sporting director Jesus Garcia Pitarch after a series of decisions went against his side in their 3-2 home defeat to LaLiga champions Barcelona.
Lionel Messi’s injury-time penalty settled the match after Rodrigo and on-loan Barca forward Munir El Haddadi put Valencia 2-1 ahead, but Mallenco drew the ire of Pitarch after Saturday’s match.
Pitarch felt Luis Suarez was offside in the build-up to Messi’s opening goal, while Sergio Busquets was perhaps fortunate not to be sent off and Samuel Umtiti could have conceded a penalty for a foul on Rodrigo.
“He will be embarrassed when he looks back at this game,” Pitarch said.
“There were three clear incidents within half an hour: Messi’s first goal with Suarez offside, the second yellow offence of Busquets and Rodrigo’s [unawarded] penalty.
“Undiano has to take a look at himself. Spanish football can’t have such a disgraceful referee.”
Cesare Prandelli was also highly critical of the referee’s performance in the game, but the Valencia coach hailed the performance of his players.
“I must be proud,” he told reporters. “We were close to winning the game.
“I don’t want to comment, but the images are very clear. It was a shame for the players, but I’m happy with our approach to the game.
“We paid dearly for the fervour of the last few minutes, there wasn’t long left, but when we show this courage I am happy.
“The next game will be more complicated because our opponents will see that Valencia have changed.”