Simeone: Atletico did not lose because of VAR
Diego Simeone refused to blame controversial VAR decisions for Atletico Madrid’s 3-1 derby defeat to Real Madrid on Saturday. Los Blancos claimed their first ever win over Atletico at the Wanda Metropolitano, as Casemiro, Sergio Ramos and Gareth Bale got the goals to move them up to second, above their rivals.
Antoine Griezmann initially cancelled out Casemiro’s opener, but Madrid ultimately had too much for their hosts and were good value for the win.
However, Atletico were convinced Jose Gimenez fouled Vinicius Junior just outside the box for Ramos’ penalty, before another VAR decision saw Atletico miss out on a spot-kick of their own when Alvaro Morata went over after a slight collision in the box with Casemiro. Simeone insists the technology was not to blame, though, accepting the better team won.
“I do not usually talk about the VAR,” Simeone told reporters. “It will clearly improve for the good of everyone. I absolutely do not believe that we have lost because of VAR. It was a tough hard game in which they were better than us, more forceful. They played a very good game and we congratulate them.”
Atletico players may feel slightly different to Simeone regarding the impact of VAR, but he feels he cannot answer for them.
“The action of the penalty [that was not given for Atletico] is an important possibility,” he said. “But I am not in the head of the players, it is a question for them. We are used to the decisions of the World Cup, cutting short your celebrations of a goal and not letting you enjoy it. The players are prepared for that.”
While Simeone insisted that VAR was not to blame for the defeat, Atletico players were angered by several contentious calls during the game and the club took to social media to point out what they percived as blown calls. The first controversial moment was the decision to award Madrid a penalty when Jose Gimenez tripped Vinicius Junior on the left side of the box, with VAR officials backing referee Javier Estrada Fernandez pointing to the spot.
However, the screenshot of the incident that Atletico uploaded on Twitter appears to display contact first occurring outside the area. Simeone’s men were then denied an equaliser when Alvaro Morata was deemed to be offside before beating Thibaut Courtois, but the club’s post seems to show the former Madrid striker being played onside by Ramos. Morata was also involved in the third incident, not getting a penalty despite Casemiro appearing to make contact with him in the box, as they attempted to highlight in their final image.