Conte slams referee as Inter lose at Barcelona

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Antonio Conte was not happy with the officials as Inter Milan lost 2-1 at Barcelona on Wednesday.

The former Chelsea and Juventus manager saw his side go 1-0 up at the Nou Camp but two late goals from Luis Suarez saw Barca seal a comeback win.

Speaking to reporters after the game, Conte slammed referee Damir Skomina for not giving Inter a “clear penalty” when Stefano Sensi was brought down in the box by Arthur.

“I think there has been a clear penalty that we have not been given and then Barcelona have scored an equalizer,” Conte said. “We are talking about an international referee, who has experience, who took charge of the Champions League final. We deserved more. I am bitter because I have seen some situations that I did not like. There were things that I did not like from the beginning, but I don’t want to talk about that. On the bench we had some feelings I did not like.”

Conte then added that Inter deserved more respect, and revealed that the referee threatened to send him off after his protestations on the sidelines.

“What did the referee tell me? Nothing, he came to warn me and he said he would send me off at the next opportunity,” Conte said. “Referees have on their shirt the word ‘respect’ and it is the only thing I have asked. They must respect those who come here to try to do better than the other team. Respect must be mutual.”

The defeat was Inter’s first of the season, as they’d won five-straight in Serie A and for large spells of the clash at Barcelona they looked assured and steady after Lautaro Martinez gave them the lead.

Conte’s criticism of Skomina is particularly surprising as he is recognized as one of the best referees in the game and, as Conte said, he refereed the UEFA Champions League final last season.

Referees have bad days. So too do managers. Conte’s reaction was ‘on brand’ as his passionate style on the sidelines has never changed.

Inter have one point from their opening two UCL matches and are now playing catch up to Borussia Dortmund and Barcelona who both have four points on the board after two games.

The Italian giants now face Dortmund home and away and know they probably have to get at least four points to keep their hopes of reaching the last 16 alive.