Wayne Rooney joins Roberto Martinez in criticising Roberto Mancini over ref row

 

Wigan boss Roberto Martinez and Manchester United's Wayne Rooney have criticised Roberto Mancini for waving an imaginary card at referee Martin Atkinson during his side's win at Wigan.

Edin Dzeko broke an 11-match scoring drought to give Manchester City a 1-0 win at the DW Stadium in the Barclays Premier League last night.

However, the contest was overshadowed when City boss Mancini became embroiled in yet another red card row.

In the FA Cup defeat to United nine days ago, Mancini lambasted Rooney for his part in getting Vincent Kompany sent off.

Then, three days later, Mancini got involved in a tunnel row with Liverpool's Steven Gerrard, who accused the Italian of doing exactly the same thing following Glen Johnson's two-footed tackle on Joleon Lescott.

 

Last night Mancini was up in arms that Maynor Figueroa, having completely misjudged the bounce of Nigel de Jong's long punt forward, only got a yellow card for handling the ball to prevent Sergio Aguero running through on goal from the halfway line.

Watching on TV, Rooney was quick to make a sarcastic comment.

"Was Manchini (sic) asking for red card????" Rooney wrote on Twitter.

And Martinez also had his say on the subject after agreeing with Atkinson that the incident took place too far from the Wigan goal to be considered a clear goalscoring opportunity.

"He has misjudged the bounce but he is not even in his own half. I don't think it is a red card," Martinez said.

As for Mancini's actions, he added: "I've been here long enough to understand that trying to influence the referee is not accepted in the British game.

"I've been here since 1995 so I know when a player tries to buy a decision from the referee it is not seen as clever. It is seen as cheating.

"I understand in Italy, Spain and France you try to get decisions from the referee. What happens here is very different."

Mancini defended his actions, saying: "It is normal when it is something like today.

"I am on the bench. It is different to a player who is near the referee. They can have more influence. From the bench, it is what you think at that moment but the referee doesn't see you."

Meanwhile, Martinez predicted the title race will go down to the wire after City's win took them three points clear of Manchester United and five ahead of Tottenham, who visit the Etihad Stadium on Sunday.

But, while Martinez conceded the Blues are favourites to finish champions for the first time since 1968, he believes it will be a closely-fought contest.

"Quite clearly Manchester City are favourites," he said. "At this stage of the season, when you are top, you have to be favourites.

"But we all know the competition is going to be ferocious until the end of the season.

"It is probably going to be one of the tightest of the last few seasons."

PA

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