Martino: No point in throwing refs to the lions

Following dubious refereeing decisions in Real Madrid's midweek match against Elche, the Barcelona coach has refused the opportunity to criticise officials in Spain
Barcelona coach Gerardo Martino believes there is no point in putting referees in a vulnerable position when decisions they make are questionable.

Officials were once again the talking point this week as Cesar Muniz Fernandez pointed to the spot to give Real Madrid a fortunate penalty to beat Elche 2-1 in the sixth minute of injury time on Wednesday.

However, Martino refused to criticise the officiating in Spain, even despite Barca president Sandro Rosell ridiculing the award of a penalty, instead calling on his side to focus on maintaining their own strong run of form when they face Almeria this weekend.

"It's difficult to talk about referees. Sometimes you don't want to talk just after a game when it's not the right time. There's no point in throwing referees to the lions," he told reporters.

"I didn't see the game. As for the [Madrid] derby, it'll be a good game to watch. It's certainly the game of the week. Of course, we've got to think about winning our games. The important thing is that we beat Almeria."

Muniz will not officiate in any matches this weekend in La Liga as Spain's referreeing technical committee has decided to give him a two-game rest following a torrent of criticism levelled at the official.

The same referee was also involved in other questionable decisions the week before between Barcelona and Sevilla, where los Rojiblancos defender Juan Cala's header was controversially disallowed in the Catalans' 3-2 win.