Pellegrini slams referee after Barcelona defeat: He decided the game

The Manchester City manager was furious with Jonas Eriksson and believes that Uefa made a mistake in appointing him to officiate the first-leg clash at the Etihad Stadium
Manchester City boss Manuel Pellegrini has criticised referee Jonas Eriksson following his side's Champions League defeat to Barcelona.

The Premier League title challengers were put to the sword by Tata Martino's side, with Lionel Messi converting from the penalty spot following a cynical foul by Martin Demichelis before Dani Alves sealed the win in the closing moments of the match.

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Demichelis was red carded for the foul on Argentine maestro Messi and Pellegrini has blamed referee Erkisson for the defeat, insisting that Uefa made a mistake in appointing him to take charge of the last-16 first-leg encounter.

He told Sky Sports: "Of course I have a complaint, and not only for the penalty and the red card. In the whole match I didn't feel we had a referee with impartiality to both teams, and he decided the game.

"He decided the game because it was a foul by Busquets on Navas. He was three metres away but didn't want to whistle, and the foul by Demichelis outside the box is not a penalty.

"With such important mistakes against a team as great as Barcelona, it's very difficult to win.

"I think it's a mistake to nominate a referee who had problems with Barcelona [turned down penalty appeals vs AC Milan last year] as the referee here, and I repeat he decided the game."

Reflecting on whether his side can turn things around and advance to the quarter-final stage of the competition, Pellegrini accepts it will be a tough ask but holds out hope that a comeback could still be possible.

He added: "Of course we are going to try. We are going to play in Camp Nou. We did it against Bayern after we lost at home. The second goal was a difficult moment because the match was ending and now they have a two-goal advantage, but we will see what we can do there."