Espanyol manager Luis Garcia admitted that his side have not been relegated due to refereeing decisions, but did use his first press conference after their fate was confirmed to rant about exactly that.
Los Pericos were condemned to Segunda with one game remaining after Samuel Lino’s 93rd minute equaliser deprived them of three points, levelling the match at 2-2 and making it impossible for them to stay up.
Espanyol felt aggrieved at various decisions during the match, with Cesar Montes having a goal disallowed for a foul on the goalkeeper, and again were furious with what they felt was a foul on Martin Braithwaite in the lead up to Lino’s strike.
Garcia told Catalunya Radio that he would not hold his tongue on the matter.
“Espanyol did not go down solely and exclusively because of these decisions, but it is true that they marked the last two games. We cannot be silent or hide.”
“I’m the first to be wrong, this is sport and that’s how it is. Everyone makes mistakes and has the right to do so. Now, the situation last Wednesday… It’s unbelievable that that can happen in one of the best leagues in the world.”
⚪🔵 Luis García, després del descens
“No podem callar. Les decisions arbitrals han marcat els dos últims partits”
“Que ningú ho dubti, tornarem més forts”
— Esport3 (@esport3) May 28, 2023
These perceived injustices come just days after Atletico Madrid were given a goal by VAR, which told the referee that Antoine Griezmann’s effort had crossed the line without a clear image of it doing so.
“And about today… Braithwaite’s foul, anyone who has played football knows that at full speed when you are touched, it unbalances you and it’s a foul. But the action of Cesar Montes’ second goal seems even more incredible to me. He jumps cleanly, wins the battle with the keeper.”
— Fútbol en Movistar Plus+ (@MovistarFutbol) May 28, 2023
Espanyol’s relegation will be a tough pill to swallow for those who frequent the RCDE Stadium. Garcia was appointed with seven games to go after Diego Martinez was given the reins last summer – it was thought by many that he could place Espanyol in the top half of the table, but now Els Blanc-i-blaus must rebuild for the second time in four years.