Leicester City manager Claudio Ranieri believes referee Martin Atkinson's decision to send off Danny Simpson during the 2-1 defeat at Arsenal on Sunday (14 February) was too "severe" as the defender saw two yellow cards for two "normal fouls." The manager believes his side would have won the game at the Emirates Stadium should they have played with 11 players until the end.
Jamie Vardy gave the lead to the Foxes just before half-time with a penalty. However, the Gunners managed to secure a crucial comeback victory courtesy of goal from Theo Walcott and Danny Welbeck after Leicester were reduced to 10 men in the 54th minute of the game following Simpson's dismissal.
"It was a fantastic match, very fast. I don't know if in a normal match that our two yellows cards was a sending off. They were normal fouls, but not yellow cards. I think the referee was too severe to us for the sending off. 11 vs 11, I'm sure we win the match. The match was full of fouls so why send off a player? Come on," the Italian manager said to the BBC after the game.
"We know Arsenal are a fantastic team, they move the ball quickly and have skill, but we had to concentrate. We tried to counter-attack and we controlled the match very well."
Ranieri, nevertheless, congratulates the Gunners for the victory, while pointing out that the Foxes still lead the table.
"We are still top of the table, got two points more – we must carry on and smile. We lost to our opponents – we must say well done."