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Ranieri hits out at referee over Simpson dismissal

By Jeremy Wilson

CLAUDIO RANIERI has angrily suggested that referee Martin Atkinson was pressurised by Arsenal’s fans into sending off Danny Simpson, and he also noted how Danny Welbeck’s winner was scored after the fourth minute of added time.

“If I think about the match I am very angry,” Ranieri, the Leicester City manager, said.

Simpson was shown a red card for a second bookable offence in the 54th minute, and Welbeck completed Arsenal’s comeback with a goal in the 95th minute after the fourth official, Roger East, had signalled a minimum of four additional minutes.

“I think maybe I make mistakes but an international referee gave two yellow cards for normal fouls and the match was full of fouls, and very difficult fouls,” Ranieri said.

“I remember the first half when we scored and there was a bad tackle from [Aaron] Ramsey and it was a yellow card, but it is not the same yellow card when Simpson stopped the other player. You have to stay calm, my players, but also the referee. I think there were two kinds of reaction. The first half was strong. But in the second half, maybe because the crowd pushed a lot and put him under pressure…”

Of Welbeck’s late winner, the Leicester manager said: “Sometimes the referee stopped the time. Four minutes extra time [and] there was five minutes when they scored. Sometimes they stopped when it was a corner or a free-kick. If you watch the goal there was Welbeck and another in front of the near post. In that moment you need to kill them. But they [the Leicester players] are young.”

Ranieri, though, was still adamant that he did not think there was any bias in favour of the biggest clubs in the league.

“No. The referee is OK, but a little severe with us. It’s OK. We continue to fight. I am very proud of my players. They showed a fantastic performance – the same performance as at Manchester City. A draw should have been the result.”

But Ranieri smiled his way through the press conference, saying: “Our players are very sad today. Me, too. My reaction is to laugh with you because I am strong and I want my players to follow me.”





Daily Telegraph