Manchester City coach Manuel Pellegrini was absolutely furious with referee Jonas Eriksson following his team’s 2-0 loss at home to Barcelona in the UEFA Champions League Round of 16 first-leg on Tuesday, claiming that the Swedish referee should not have awarded a penalty or sent off Martin Demichelis for his obvious foul on Lionel Messi early in the second-half.
"The referee decided the game,” Pellegrini said during his post-game press conference. "Before the penalty it was a foul on [Jesús] Navas when he [Eriksson] was three meters from the play so he could see it. From the beginning I felt the referee was not impartial to both teams. So he decided the game. And after it was not a penalty, it was outside the box. The contact was outside the box, that was the contact.”
Pellegrini continued: "[Eriksson] did not have any control of the game. He favored Barcelona from the beginning to the end. I think it was not a good idea to put a referee from Sweden in charge and a referee who made a mistake against Barcelona in the group stages." Here, the Chilean is referring to a few missed penalty claims when Barca played AC Milan at the San Siro in the group stages last fall. Asked if he thought Eriksson was compensating for these perceived mistakes, Pellegrini said: "Yes."
Several news outlets on Wednesday are reporting that UEFA will likely charge the City coach for his comments about Eriksson’s performance.