Referees don’t favour Barcelona: Ancelotti

Milan, April 13 (IANS) Veteran football manager Carlo Ancelotti said Barcelona are not subconsciously favoured by referees in the wake of their controversial Champions League win over Atletico Madrid last week.

The Blaugrana defeated Atletico 2-1 in the first leg of their Champions League quarter-final at Camp Nou, a game which saw German referee Felix Brych send Fernando Torres off in the first half for two yellow cards but Barca’s two-goal hero Luis Suarez escape punishment for kicking out at Juanfran.

After the match, Atletico cried foul with Filipe Luis complaining that “Barcelona are protected, you realise the fear when Barcelona could get knocked out. It would hurt Uefa a lot”.

“Not at this level. The referee level is very high. Sometimes referees can make mistakes. Sometimes these mistakes work in your favour and other times they do not,” Ancelotti was quoted as saying by when asked if Barcelona does really receive preferential treatment.

“I try to respect the work of the referees, who have a very difficult job. Brych has an excellent reputation in Europe and I don’t think he helped Barcelona, even if it is possible he committed mistakes because everyone does,” the former Real Madrid manager said.

Suarez proved decisive against Atletico, firing home twice in the second half to overturn Torres’ opener.

The Uruguayan has now scored 45 goals in as many games this season in all competitions.

“Barcelona have three very important players, their three forwards. Sometimes you need to take care of Messi, and at other times Suarez or Neymar. It is difficult to say who is the most important of the three, but I think for Barcelona, Messi is still their number one,” he said.

“Messi shares the honour of best player in the world with Cristiano Ronaldo. Both have different qualities but both are critical for their teams,” Ancelotti concluded.

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