Referees don't favour Real Madrid over Barcelona, says Graham Hunter
Last Updated: 13/03/13 8:14am
Graham Hunter says Barcelona deserved a penalty in Saturday's Clasico, but talk of a conspiracy is "sickening".
Real Madrid beat their rivals for the second time in a week, but the Bernabeu clash was not without controversy as Sergio Ramos, minutes after scoring the winning goal, appeared to foul Adriano inside the penalty area.
"It's sickening to hear it, truthfully. Referees make mistakes and if there's conspiracies they will be exposed."
The Barca players surrounded the official to demand a spot kick, but Miguel Pérez Lasa was not forthcoming and eventually sent off goalkeeper Victor Valdes for his protests.
Spain-based journalist Hunter denied the idea that referees are deliberately making decisions in favour of Real Madrid, but did hint that their manager, Jose Mourinho, has deliberately set out to disrupt Barcelona with his comments about the officials.
"That's his intention," he explained on Revista de la Liga.
"When a team is dominant and when everything is flying for you I think it helps referees to miss things more easily.
"Conspiracy? I don't buy into it. It's about 10 seconds ago that everybody in Madrid was saying everything's in favour of Barcelona.
"It's sickening to hear it, truthfully. Referees make mistakes and if there's conspiracies they will be exposed.
"Barcelona aren't playing well enough and victim culture drags you down - and that's what's happening.
"The referee made a mistake, it's as simple as that."
Fellow Revista expert Terry Gibson agrees that Mourinho has been trying to influence referees and to antagonise Barcelona's players in doing so.
And he said he had some sympathy for Valdes and his team-mates after their late penalty appeals were denied.
"It was 100 per cent a clear penalty and I can't understand why the referee didn't give it," Gibson said.
"Initially you thought it was a penalty and when you saw the replay it was a clear penalty, but it was late in the game and it was at Real Madrid.
"I can understand the reaction slightly of the Barcelona players and I can understand long term the reaction. There have been decisions in the past against Real Madrid that have not gone their way and that goes back to that first Jose Mourinho Clasico when they lost 5-0.
"He has been chipping away at referees and doing everything he can to get an advantage over Barcelona.
"He's really got under their skin now and certain players at Barcelona are not playing their natural game; they're more interested in the referee and what's going on.
"The comments from Jose Mourinho have irritated them and he's got under their skin. It has worked."