Mancini apologises after Moyes touchline struggle

Italian loses head at end of City's 2-0 loss to Everton
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The Independent Football

The Manchester City manager, Roberto Mancini, last night apologised to David Moyes for initiating a touchline spat which resulted in them being sent off during Everton's 2-0 win at Eastlands, with a possible fine and ban to follow for both managers.

In a clash reminiscent of that between Arsenal's Arsène Wenger and Alan Pardew in November 2006, when Wenger was incensed by Pardew celebrating his West Ham side's late winner, the two managers squared up after Moyes stopped and held a ball in his technical area five minutes from the end of the game. Mancini grappled for the ball, eyeballing Moyes, and the Italian's assistant Brian Kidd had to intervene seconds later to stop Phil Neville from wading into the confrontation.

Moyes, whose side's win makes them outside contenders for a top-four finish while City remain two points behind Tottenham in fifth with their game in hand gone, insisted he had been trying to speed up play and make a substitution. "Next time I might just let it run through me," he said. "I caught it because I was making a substitution. I thought I was helping and actually speeded it up. I didn't know what I was doing wrong."

The Everton manager has not decided whether he will appeal any decision to impose a punishment on him. Wenger received a £10,000 fine for the 2006 incident, while Pardew appealed and escaped punishment. Mancini seemed unaware last night that he could be due a fine or ban from the Football Association. "No, it's finished now. I'm sorry," he said.

City's desultory performance – they did not even manage a shot on goal – contributed to a fine night for Spurs, who also booked their place in the FA Cup semi-finals, coming from 1-0 down to overcome Fulham 3-1. It was also a good evening for Chelsea, who thrashed Portsmouth 5-0 at Fratton Park.

Mancini, who also incurred Moyes' anger for making "booking" gestures at referee Peter Walton, said of that: "OK, next time I won't do it." He apologised three times in the course of a short press room appearance, and moved to make his peace with the Everton manager as their paths crossed in the corridor outside. "If I made a mistake I'm sorry to him and the referee," the Italian said. "I'll speak with him. I'm sorry [to] the referee. I wanted only to get the ball because we had another five minutes at the end."

Moyes accepted. "I'm going into [his] office. I hope he's there," the Everton manager said. His delight at a run which has seen Everton lose only twice in 17 games was compounded by the pleasure of getting one over on the side who enticed Joleon Lescott away in August, a controversy which briefly de-stabilised the club and contributed to their poor start to the season.

Moyes said this week that he did not feel his team could move above the sides above them in the table. He feels the same about a Champions League spot but said he will "look again" at the top seven. "We are coming from miles behind everyone," he said. On this desperately poor display, Mancini seems to have a long way to travel to secure a top-four place.

"When we lose the game we must start again with the same concentration if we want to improve," he said. "You can start again when you lose a game – not only when you lose. This is football sometimes."