Mancini criticises ref after narrow win

30 September 2012 07:48

Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini is relieved the latest in a number of recent "mistakes" did not cost his side at Fulham.

The reigning Barclays Premier League champions picked up a 2-1 victory thanks to substitute Edin Dzeko's goal three minutes from time. The Bosnia international's goal followed Sergio Aguero's effort late in the first half, which levelled things up at Craven Cottage after Mladen Petric's penalty had given the hosts a 10th-minute lead.

Referee Mark Halsey awarded the spot-kick after adjudging Pablo Zabaleta trip on John Arne Riise to be just inside the 18-yard box - a decision that irked Mancini. He said: "This pitch is always a tough for us but the problem is we were 1-0 down and I don't know why because the penalty was not a penalty."

Mancini added: "We were 1-0 down and Fulham didn't shoot on goal for the first 20 minutes. That was a problem but I am happy because the players continued to play well, kept calm and we had a lot of chances."

Asked to clarify why he thought the penalty should not have been awarded, the Italian retorted: "You saw everything. My opinion was that it was out [of the box] and it was no foul, no penalty. No, I don't agree it was a penalty. What do you think?"

Mancini claims the incident was the latest in a number of recent decisions that have cost his side.

"We can do nothing," he added. "There were a lot of mistakes in the past four games. We accept this, but we're not happy. This is true but we can do nothing, only continue to play."

While Dzeko will take the headlines for his late goal, Mancini can be just as thankful to Riise for their winner. The Norwegian left-back failed to clear a Gael Clichy cross, allowing Dzeko to rifle home inside the box and secure three points.

"It was a mistimed ball," Fulham manager Martin Jol said. "I would hit it with my right foot instead of trying to head it. It was a bad clearance.

"I think he will be disappointed because the mistake he made they punished."

Source: PA