Pellegrini praises battling City

15 March 2014 10:16

Manchester City boss Manuel Pellegrini hailed his side's fighting spirit after they shrugged off the 10th-minute dismissal of captain Vincent Kompany to claim a potentially priceless 2-0 Barclays Premier League win at Hull.

David Silva's stunning 14th-minute strike and a late effort from Edin Dzeko helped City end a tough week on a high after successive defeats to Wigan and Barcelona had left their dream of an unprecedented quadruple in tatters.

Pellegrini said: "I think it was a very good response from the team. It was a very difficult week and then we had to start this game playing with one player less after 10 minutes.

"It was more difficult to play with 10 players but I trust the team, I trust the players and I think we did really well with the ball."

Kompany was dismissed for hauling down Hull striker Nikica Jelavic as he tried to burst clean through on goal, but Pellegrini suggested Jelavic ought to have been punished for fouling the Manchester City man moments earlier.

Pellegrini added: "I thought before it was clear foul by Jelavic - before Vincent did his foul - but the referee didn't see it, he saw the foul of Kompany and he sent him off."

Pellegrini also sought to play down the second-half bust-up between Joe Hart and Hull substitute George Boyd following the latter's penalty appeal, which resulted in the goalkeeper being shown a yellow card.

He added: "I am so far away on the bench it is not possible to see what happened. If Joe reacted, maybe the other player dived. I don't know - that is why there is a referee."

Later, video footage and photographs emerged which hinted Boyd might have spat in Hart's direction, although it was played down by pundits, who suggested it looked accidental.

City's win took them at least temporarily back into second place and cut the gap on leaders Chelsea, but the City boss sought to play down the implications of the result.

He added: "We are not sending a message to anyone - to Chelsea or to any other teams. We are back in the Premier League after three weeks and it was important to win this game because we were nine points behind the leaders."

Hull boss Steve Bruce dismissed suggestions Boyd dived in a bid to win his side a 69th-minute spot-kick.

And although Bruce stressed he thought referee Lee Mason got the decision spot-on, he suggested Boyd had a better shout when he was pulled down by Fernandinho in the box two minutes later.

Bruce said: "There's a difference between simulation and diving, and trying to get out of the road. That's what Boyd is trying to do - nobody's going to stand there with Joe Hart coming at him.

"I think the referee got it spot-on. But the push in the back (by Fernandinho) looked a penalty."

Bruce was left to rue his side's inability to make the most of their chance to build on last Sunday's FA Cup quarter-final win over Sunderland.

Bruce added: "I think the frustration is we have never had a better chance to beat them. In the end it became one of those frustrating afternoons.

"We know how difficult it is to play against 10 men. We needed the game to go 30 or 40 minutes longer before Silva scored - that gave them something to hang onto.

"It's been a difficult week for Manchester City but I have to say they defended fantastically well.

"We just didn't have the quality to break them down but I have to say City defended very, very well and they scored a wonder goal. Silva's was a fantastic piece of individual skill."

Source: PA