• Premier League

Mancini perplexed by Nasri dismissal

ESPN staff
December 30, 2012
Samir Nasri was given his matching orders for a confrontation with Sebastien Bassong © Getty Images

Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini hit out at the "incredible" decision to send off midfielder Samir Nasri in Saturday's thrilling 4-3 Premier League win at Norwich.

Mancini, who has been forced to explain himself to the FA after saying referee Kevin Friend had "eaten too much for Christmas" following City's 1-0 defeat to Sunderland on Wednesday, was again vocal about the officials' performance at Carrow Road.

An Edin Dzeko brace fired City ahead after just four minutes but the first-half finished in Norwich's favour with Anthony Pilkington's goal reducing the deficit to one, before Nasri was shown a red card by referee Mike Jones for putting his head into the face of Sebastien Bassong.

Although City escaped with three points, Mancini was left bewildered by the send off and continued his tirade against the standard of Premier League referees.

"Both players came forward with their heads, so if you are going to send off one, then you have to send off both, not only Samir," Mancini said. "Samir said he touched his head, okay, but the other player has done the same. The linesman has a big responsibility also, because it was not a good decision, it is incredible.

"You want to send off both players? Then, okay, the referee was there, he saw everything. The linesman was behind [the players], he could not see. We will appeal, sure."

"I am disappointed with Samir, and he will pay his fine, but the decision was not correct. Samir did a mistake, okay, but after why when the other player did the same thing, does he send off only one? There are two rules for different teams, and I hate this in football and cannot accept this. In life, there is only one rule for everyone.

"This season, I have seen things which are not good. For the referees, this is the most easiest thing to do, but I do not want to talk about the referees too much, because I said last time that they had a big lunch for Christmas, and I don't know what [will happen]."

City have now won three out of their last four Premier League games, but still trail leaders Manchester United by seven points.

Mancini was just happy to get a victory, which was made harder by some poor defending as all of Norwich's goals came from set-plays.

"I am delighted with the result and the performance," he said. "In the first few minutes, we played some fantastic football and scored two goals, but after the sending off it was difficult, however, we fought well."

Canaries boss Chris Hughton was not too disappointed by his side's performance, although he empathised with Mancini's referee complaints, suggesting an early decision could have altered the game.

"Manchester City showed why they spend the amount of money they do for the offensive players they have, but you can't be 2-0 down so early on and expect to have a good day," Hughton said. "However, we displayed great character and certainly at 4-3 it seemed it might be going our way, but again they showed real good quality. I cannot fault the endeavour of the players we have got, so now we will look to go again.

"In the build-up to their second goal, there was a foul by Vincent Kompany in midfield, which was disappointing. On the sending off, there was certainly a coming together of heads and some movement, now whether that was enough for a sending off... if the referee has given it for that reason, was it a bit harsh? Probably yes."

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