Pellegrini risks UEFA action with ref outburst
MANCHESTER, England (AP) — Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini risks UEFA disciplinary action after an outburst Tuesday against the referee who oversaw their Champions League loss to Barcelona, questioning his partiality and competence.
A rare measured voice in the turbulent world of English football since arriving last year, Pellegrini finally lost his cool after Tuesday’s 2-0 first-leg loss in the round of 16.
City had been repelling Barcelona until the start of the second half when Jonas Eriksson sent off Martin Demichelis for fouling Lionel Messi, who then scored from the penalty spot. Pellegrini was angry that Sergio Busquets was not penalized for an apparent foul on City winger Jesus Navas in the build-up.
“The referee decided the game,” Pellegrini said. “He decided the game because before the penalty, it was (a) foul on Navas ... but from the beginning I could see the referee was not impartial to both teams.
“So he decided the game with the foul he didn’t whistle against and after the penalty of Martin Demichelis — it was not a penalty, it was outside the box.”
Barcelona has history with Eriksson, who was criticized by then-coach Pep Guardiola for not awarding his team penalties in 2012 in a 0-0 draw at Milan in the quarterfinals.
Pellegrini felt Eriksson was trying to make amends for “an important mistake against Barcelona in a previous match.”
And after the Etihad Stadium game, which saw Dani Alves add a late second, Pellegrini confronted Eriksson to tell him what he thought of his abilities as a referee.
The Chilean believes that Eriksson lacked the credentials to referee a match of this magnitude despite taking charge of games at the 2012 European Championship, the 2013 UEFA Super Cup and being on the FIFA list for the World Cup in Brazil.
“He did not have any control of the game,” Pellegrini said.
“It was not a good idea to put a referee from Sweden in (charge) of such an important match ... maybe that kind of game needs a referee with more experience.”
For suggesting the referee set out to favor Barcelona, Pellegrini is likely to be contacted by UEFA’s disciplinary department, and faces a fine or touchline-ban.