Real Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti took issue with Atletico Madrid's “violent” approach after Sunday's action-packed La Liga derbi finished 2-2 at the Estadio Vicente Calderon.
Madrid went ahead early on through Karim Benzema, but Atletico roared back to find themselves 2-1 ahead at the break through superb strikes from Koke and Gabi.
The second half featured penalty claims for both sides, and a number of off-the-ball confrontations, before Cristiano Ronaldo equalised late on to keep Madrid clear at the top of the Primera Division standings.
Ancelotti told his postmatch news conference that Atletico’s “rough” tactics had made it difficult for his side, particularly in the first half.
“A point is a point,” Ancelotti said. “It was a difficult match. We tried to play but it wasn't easy because Atletico played a very rough game. They tried to impose a violent game. We don't play like that. We tried to play football and in the end we managed to do that.”
Atletico coach Diego Simeone refused to be drawn on Ancelotti’s comments, or the performance of referee Carlos Delgado Ferreiro -- who angered the home fans particularly by booking Diego Costa for diving when a penalty for a foul by Alvaro Arbeloa looked more likely.
Simeone's assistant German Burgos was sent off for taking his protests too far, and was eventually hauled away by colleagues after confronting Delgado Ferreiro on the sidelines.
And Simeone told his news conference after the game that Burgos had lost his head.
“[Burgos] did not say anything to the referee before,” Simeone said. “Then he got angry. The fourth official was far away and decided that he had said things.”
Madrid defender Sergio Ramos told Canal Plus that Atletico’s first penalty appeal, when he seemed to clearly trip Costa inside the area, could have been given.
“That is football,” Ramos said. “There are a thousand penalties not whistled, and others given, it is up to the referee. I am not the one to judge it, but I do not think there was a foul.”
Blancos midfielder Xabi Alonso told Marca that it had been a typical derbi, but his side had overcome the rough tactics by the end and could have even won the game.
“It was very tough, lots of stoppages, many protests, but that is nothing new here,” Alonso said. “You must get used to it. All the games against [Atletico] are very intense. There is a lot on the line. Intensity is one of their qualities, but if you combine that with playing good football, as we did in the second half, above all in the final stages, then you have more chances to win. That is how we created more chances, and Atletico were penned into their area. We were close to winning it.”
Atletico captain Gabi, who scored his side’s second goal with a 35-yard screamer, had a different perspective, however.
“I am leaving with a bitter taste in my mouth,” Gabi told Canal Plus. “It was a very open game, with chances for both teams, but I am proud of Atletico Madrid. We wanted to bring this intensity and motivation for the fans, and I believe we did that. Everyone defends their own side, but it all stays out on the pitch. We are used to the criticism and the praise. We are still just three points off Madrid, and two from Barca.”