Ronald Koeman has denied he said anything untoward prior to his sending off in Barcelona’s defeat to Granada and has claimed it was in fact he who was disrespected by the fourth official.
The Dutch tactician was sent to the stands by referee Pablo Fuertes on Thursday evening after remonstrating with the officials following Granada’s equaliser.
Barça went on to lose the game 2-1 – a huge blow in their bid to be crowned La Liga champions with their destiny no longer in their own hands – and when asked about his dismissal in his post-match press conference, Koeman claimed the fourth official was the one in the wrong.
“According to the report I disrespected the fourth official,” he told reporters (via ESPN). “I don’t understand because I didn’t insult him at all. If anything, the way he spoke to me was disrespectful.
“I spoke to him about various incidents but always respectfully. I’d like to know what words I supposedly used because I didn’t say anything ugly. It’s incredible. But if the fourth official wants to be the centre of attention.”
Things had looked like going to plan for the home side when Lionel Messi struck midway through the first half to hand his side the lead.
However, second-half goals from Darwin Machis and Jorge Molina scuppered Barcelona’s plans to regain top spot in the league, and Koeman conceded he was disappointed in his side’s inability to kill the game off.
“We dominated the first half and should have scored one or two more so we could relax a bit more at the end of the game,” he added.
“Analysing the two goals we conceded, it was down to a lack of concentration in defence. That’s what’s cost us the points. We didn’t defend well, cut out passes or close down spaces.
“It’s a big disappointment. It’s a setback because we don’t depend on ourselves anymore. We have to pick ourselves up, look at what we’ve done wrong here and then prepare for a crucial game on Sunday [at Valencia].”
The result leaves Barcelona two points behind leaders Atletico Madrid with just five games to play.