'Valencia have tried to stay out of refereeing row' – Valverde

Ernesto Valverde says Valencia have distanced themselves from controversy which surrounded refereeing in Tuesday’s Copa del Rey first-leg match against Real Madrid, ahead of their La Liga meeting on Sunday.

Los Che fell to a 2-0 defeat at the Santiago Bernabeu after a Karim Benzema strike and an own goal from Andres Guardado gave Madrid the victory. Valverde was also sent to the stands by the referee after the second.

However, the 48-year-old coach has stressed his side have had to avoid thinking about contentious decisions in the build-up to their league game with Los Blancos.

“There has been a lot of talk about the referee and not too much about the game,” the former Olympiakos trainer was quoted by Marca.

“We have tried to keep out of the row these last few days. We had a good game but there were also mistakes. Our plan is to concentrate on sporting aspects, as that is the only thing we can control. I understand that refereeing mistakes are part and parcel of the game.

“We can’t say too much because if we protest then Granada might then come along and say one of their players was sent off for no reason,” he added, alluding to Valencia’s 2-1 victory earlier this month.

Valverde’s men currently sit seventh in La Liga and he insists Sunday’s encounter holds great significance for both teams.

He continued: “It’s a game in which both teams have a lot to play for. The three points would raise us up a few places, and Real Madrid will be looking for them to keep a safe distance between themselves and their rivals.”

Los Che are seven points behind Real Madrid, who occupy third spot with 37 points from 19 games.

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