Diego Simeone is not happy with the eight-match ban that has been handed to his star Diego Costa following his outburst in the defeat to Barcelona. The Atletico Madrid boss believes the punishment, that will see Costa miss the remainder of the season, is too severe.
Atletico Madrid have endured a frustrating season having failed to keep pace with runaway leaders Barcelona. With bitter rivals Real Madrid suffering through one of the worst seasons in the history of the club, Atletico had hoped to capitalise to mount another significant title challenge.
That dream was finally put to rest with a 2-0 defeat at the Nou Camp, a fixture that got the better of Costa, who saw red for a reckless challenge. Unhappy with the decision the 30-year-old confronted referee Jesus Gil Manzano with a foul-mouthed tirade.
Manzano wrote up the comments in his post-match report and La Liga has now handed an eight-match ban to the striker. Speaking ahead of Atletico's next fixture with Celta Vigo, Simeone claimed the punishment was excessive.
He was quoted by Goal as saying: "The sanction is too much, you know what I think of Costa. We must take care of our players and, at this moment, more than ever with Costa."
The former Chelsea forward has never been too far from controversy in his career, with his temper frequently being called into question.
After moving for a reported £59m Costa has failed to hit the heights he previously did at the club. The suspension is another obstacle to a continued run in the side for Costa who has already suffered several injury setbacks since his return to Atletico.
Simeone went on to defend his big-money signing, pointing to his recent fitness record as the reason for his lacklustre form in front of goal.
"He started very well after a great pre-season, in September and October, he began to feel discomfort but we asked him to play - he was not in the right condition. Hopefully, now he can have a fantastic pre-season and can respond as we are used to," he added.