Udinese Technical Director Pierpaolo Marino appeared on Udinese Tonight on Monday evening.
Here’s what he had to say.
“I couldn’t sleep last night I was so angry. Seeing the lads so depressed and disheartened in training today after giving so much and getting nothing made me even more irritated. I’ve definitely not got over the anger.
“I refereed over 300 games, albeit when I was very young, so I know the psychology that goes into refereeing these games. I’d never seen protests at half time because no added time had been given. It was a way of putting pressure on the referee. I was right there and I reassured the referee because it was a strategy. You can’t be complaining about a minute of added time when there are still 45 minutes left to play and there’s only one goal between the two sides. That really disturbed me, but the decision to award Juventus a free-kick in the decisive moment of the match made me sad. As a former referee and now as an experienced director, I’ve always been against referees being subjected to psychological pressure. It was a throwback to the past and mustn’t happen again.
“Last week, when [Luca] Gotti asked [Gianluca] Rocchi about AC Milan scoring nine seconds after the end of the game, Rocchi explained that there is some leeway in the timing. The referee’s watch and the stadium watch start at the same time, but there can be a difference of around four or five seconds. According to the laws of the game, the referee’s watch is the one that takes precedence. I think the protests were a strategy because there was another half to play before the end of the game.
“It’s not a criticism of [Fabio] Paratici but of the mentality that makes you try to psychologically influence the referee. That’s not good sportsmanship. Trying to influence a referee during a game is wrong.
“As Technical Director, I’m authorised to be on the bench. In terms of the free-kick, getting to the ball first doesn’t mean you’ve been fouled – it means you’ve done well to anticipate the play. [Jens Stryger] Larsen didn’t touch the player. [Juan] Cuadrado is a specialist when it comes to diving: he got to the ball first, then dived when he realised he might have the ball taken off him. He also tried to influence the referee by falling with his hands on the ball – that’s just a way of getting a free-kick. It’s a tactic that many experienced players use. In my eyes, it was a free-kick to Udinese because of handball by Cuadrado. After the pantomime scenes in the break, every 50-50 went the way of Juventus.
“The COVID regulations mean the gates to the stands are open, because the team delegations usually sit there. The regulations don’t allow for people who aren’t on the list to hang around the bench or the pitch. [Daniele] Chiffi doesn’t have much power to deal with people not on the list – it’s down to the FIGC Prosecutor to intervene. The referee can only sanction or send off people on the bench.
“Rocchi has backed up our position on a number of incidents. He clarified that if you have your back to the ball, you can’t be penalised for handball because you’re not looking for contact with the ball. Sometimes balance comes into it, as with [Nahuel] Molina against Cagliari. He also said we were right on the [Roberto] Pereyra penalty against Atalanta. The penalty awarded to Cagliari led to [Fabio] Maresca and [Marco] Guida being suspended and dropping down to Serie B last week.
“Anything could happen from now until the end of the season. If we finish tenth, we’ll be in line with the aims outlined by president [Giampaolo] Pozzo a few months ago. It’s a shame because – based on what Rocchi has said – we could have had four or five more points, which would have enabled us to aim for ninth. We have to keep going because we have a great chance of finishing tenth. That would be an exceptional achievement if you look at all the bad luck we’ve had. Just think of all the injuries we’ve had. If we play our remaining games the way we played against Juventus, we’ll secure a very good final league position. Credit to the coach and the team for what they’ve done so far.”