In a press conference sometimes loaded with irony, the Manchester City manager, Roberto Mancini, risked the wrath of the Football Association by suggesting that refereeing bias may be at the root of decisions going for Manchester United and against his own side at the critical point of the season.
Mancini initially recited the Italian expression tutto il mondo e paese – "We're the same the world over" – but then said English refereeing was different. The Italian insisted he didn't "want to say" there was bias towards United but the FA may scrutinise his comment that "the man on the pitch in a black shirt doesn't have a blue shirt or a red shirt or a white shirt."
The Italian said that "when I watch some games there are some situations that I don't like" and he is clearly unhappy with the two penalties Ashley Young has been awarded in the last two games at Old Trafford. "Everyone who watched all the games can have their opinion about this. This is a situation that I don't like because the rules should be the same for everyone, not for us or for United. The rules are one, the same for everyone. They can't change from one pitch to another, or some other situation. This is not good."
The dismissal of QPR's Shaun Derry has also provoked him. "This – it's strange," he said. The City manager was unhappy with the yellow card Carlos Tevez received for diving at Norwich last week. "No, for me it was a red card for Tevez! Not yellow, red. And a five-match ban!" Neither has he forgotten Billy Jones' handball, undetected in City's 4-0 win over West Bromwich. Mistakes do not balance out over the season, he insisted. "There are some moments in the season when the mistake is more important."
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