Valdano defends conduct

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Real Madrid director of sport Jorge Valdano has defended himself in light of criticism of his conduct during Real Madrid's Copa del Rey win over Sevilla.

The Argentine became involved in an ugly confrontation with the match officials in the tunnel at half-time after complaining about the controversial dismissal of Zinedine Zidane (pictured).

The confrontation was then joined by players from both sides as emotions spilled over, but Valdano insists he did not insult or pressurise the match officials, and that the incident has subsequently been blown out of proportion.

"At half-time I went down to the dressing rooms, following the instructions of the Sevilla staff, and I found myself in front of the refereeing trio and I could not contain myself," Valdano explained.

"I thought that there was a lot of pressure, that the declarations of the days leading up to the match had provoked that climate and I tried to say that to Iurralde (Gonzalez, referee).

"After that, the players and other people arrived and there was a moment of agitation and confusion.

"There were no insults, everyone was shouting but it was through an anxiety to defend their interests.

"I don't want to prolong the debate because in three days we have a game against Valencia, but it was not just about Alfaro and Zidane.

"Other things went on and everyone was talking, and the director of sport of the opposing team also has a right to do so."

Meanwhile, Sevilla striker Antonito slammed Valdano for his actions and labelled it typical of the 'arrogance' of Real Madrid.

"In the things that Valdano said yesterday you see the arrogance of the club and the director, because Real Madrid have such a good team they don't need to put pressure on the referee," stormed the 26-year-old.

"When we arrived he was blaming the referee for things.

"It was an ugly gesture for a club like Real Madrid, that their director of sport should have to be lowered to pressuring the referee.

"It's a shame, but perhaps they are used to doing it."

Real have confirmed that they will appeal against the red card shown to Zidane, who will miss this weekend's crucial league showdown with Valencia if the decision is upheld.

"We are looking at images, analysing the act and we will make a report on it," Valdano confirmed.

"Over the last three years I believe this is the first red card that we have appealed, although we have not had many players sent off."