Barcelona not to blame for El Madrigal episode – Marcelino

Villarreal (R) players celebrate their second goal as Barcelona's Argentinian forward Lionel Messi walks away during the Spanish league football match Villarreal CF vs FC Barcelona at El Madrigal stadium in Vila-real on March 20, 2016. / AFP / JOSE JORDAN

Villarreal manager Marcelino Toral has dismissed claims that Barcelona were to blame for the poor level of officiating in Sunday’s 2-2 draw at El Madrigal in a La Liga week 30 fixture.

Marcelino’s men came back from two goals to earn a creditable draw with Barcelona and move six points clear in the race for La Liga’s fourth and final Champions League place in a match that was overshadowed by Jose Maria Sanchez Martinez’s failure to send off Gerard Pique for a clear handball and decision to award Neymar a controversial penalty.

Speaking after the encounter on Sunday, the Yellow Submarines’ boss said;

“It was a great match and I think we deserved to win,” the Coach said after the game. We deserve a lot of credit for what the players did.

“[The poor refereeing] has nothing to do with Barca. Sometimes players make mistakes, sometimes Coaches and [on Sunday] it was referees. Overall, we were superior to Barcelona. We scored two legal goals and came back, and I’m very proud of this team.

“[On his dismissal], I protested angrily against Pique [referring to his handball], but I didn’t insult him.

“An insult is different, but if it’s a protest, why was I sent off? We all make mistakes, but I didn’t insult him, I just protested.

“We competed at a high level. I think the team who best cope with injuries will achieve fourth place. We have the advantage, but it’s not definitive.

“I can’t ask for more from this team. We’re performing well above expectations. Without any doubt would I have preferred a more experienced referee than Sanchez Martinez.” Marcelino stated.

Meanwhile, Barcelona boss Luis Enrique felt his side’s 2-2 draw with Villarreal was a “fantastic” result in the circumstances as he praised his side for being “great defensively”.

Barca failed to move 11 points clear atop La Liga after the away draw amidst criticism of Enrique for tinkering with the side’s defense prior to the Submarine’s comeback.