BARCELONA star Javier Mascherano has accused Arsenal of sour grapes for blaming their Champions League exit on the controversial sending off of Robin van Persie.
Gunners manager Arsene Wenger and midfielder Samir Nasri are facing possible European bans after being charged with improper conduct for remarks made to referee Massimo Busacca after Tuesday’s defeat.
Both were furious at Busacca’s decision to show Van Persie a second yellow card for shooting one second after the whistle had been blown for offside, but Mascherano has little sympathy.
“Barca always wins thanks to the referee, never because of its play, not for having taken 19 shots on goal, not for having won 74 per cent of the possession or completing 900 passes,” he said sarcastically.
“Let’s not be hypocrites. We didn’t let them breathe and that was the key. We played Barca’s way and that’s why we advanced.”
Arsenal have until Monday to respond to the charges against Wenger and Nasri, whose cases are due to be heard next week.
Wenger called Van Persie’s dismissal “embarrassing” while the striker said he could not hear the whistle over the crowd – an explanation team-mate Jack Wilshere endorsed.
“Even I couldn’t hear the whistle,” he said. “We all know it was a bad decision but we have to deal with that and move on now.”