Football

Ronald Koeman still confused by handball rule

Barca coach says nine in 10 would penalise Real defender Ramos for handball against Eibar

Barcelona coach Ronald Koeman said he is still confused by the handball rule in Spain after rivals Real Madrid were spared a penalty when Sergio Ramos struck the ball with his arm in Monday morning’s (Dec 21, Singapore time) 3-1 win at Eibar.

Eibar coach Jose Luis Mendilibar raged against the decision, which was not reviewed by the video assistant referee (VAR), and even Real Madrid defender Dani Carvajal said players still do not understand why certain handball offences are punished and others are not.

“I don’t understand the handball rules, if you ask 10 people if yesterday’s incident was a penalty, nine would say yes,” Koeman told a news conference ahead of Wednesday morning’s trip to Real Valladolid in La Liga.

“I don’t understand the criteria of VAR, there are certain things I just cannot understand. Everyone has their right to an opinion and for me, yesterday’s incident was a penalty.” 

Barca were denied a third consecutive league win of the season in last Saturday’s 2-2 draw at home to Valencia and head to Valladolid looking for their first away win of the campaign since beating Celta Vigo on Oct 1.

Koeman said his side must pay equal attention to defence and attack and should iron out the lapses in concentration that have cost them dear in recent matches.

“It’s important we play with more consistency and that we play better with the ball than against Valencia and do better without it,” he said.

“But above all, we have to have the maximum concentration if we want to win the game, we have to have fewer ups and downs if we want to improve.” 

Koeman had criticised his side for a lack of maturity in the draw with Valencia. However, he reiterated the team were in a period of transition due to losing experienced players in the summer and replacing them with youngsters.

“We’ve changed lots of things and now we have more young players, which means we risk being more inconsistent. Things are looking good for the future, but when you’re at Barca, you need to win matches and trophies,” he said. – REUTERS

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