Pellegrini: UEFA ban is harsh

07 March 2014 02:16

Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini believes his touchline ban from UEFA was excessive.

The European governing body last week banned Pellegrini for two matches - with a further one game suspended - for a series of comments about the referee after his side's Champions League loss to Barcelona last month.

Pellegrini appeared to question the integrity of Swedish official Jonas Eriksson, claiming his decisions were "not impartial" during Barcelona's 2-0 win at the Etihad Stadium.

He also suggested Eriksson was trying to make amends for previous injustices against Barcelona and asked why an official from Sweden had been appointed for the fixture.

The source of Pellegrini's frustration was a penalty conceded by Martin Demichelis - who was also sent off. Pellegrini felt Demichelis' challenge on Lionel Messi was outside the area.

The ban means Pellegrini will not be permitted to make contact with his players or coaching staff before or during the second leg of that last-16 tie next week, and will have to watch from the stands.

Pellegrini does not agree with the punishment but is prepared to accept it.

The Chilean said: "I don't think I deserve three games or two games. I said two days after in my press conference that I was wrong in the way I did it but I continue saying that it was not a penalty and that it decided the game, in a bad day (for the referee).

"But I don't want to continue and if they decide that is the punishment for me, I will see what I am going to do in future."

Pellegrini is not quite ready to turn his attention to overturning the Barcelona deficit as, fresh from winning the Capital One Cup, his side now face Wigan in the FA Cup quarter-finals this weekend.

The match is a repeat of last year's final, which was dramatically won by underdogs Wigan.

Pellegrini said: "We are just thinking about the game against Wigan. We know it is a tough game, they are playing very well.

"When we finish on Sunday in the FA Cup we will just start thinking about Barcelona."

City know from experience not to take Wigan lightly, even though they hammered them 5-0 in the Capital One Cup in September.

They were also given a scare by another Championship side in Watford in January, when they trailed 2-0 at half-time but recovered to win 4-2.

Pellegrini said: "We always have lessons for different things, for bad things and good things.

"Watford was an important lesson in that moment but every game was different.

"The most important thing is to try to make a good performance with our team because if not I am absolutely sure we are not going to win."

Striker Stevan Jovetic and defender Matija Nastasic remain the only two absentees through injury but both should be fit next week.

It has been noticed that a number of the English players in the City squad appear to have been pushed to the fringes.

Micah Richards, Joleon Lescott and Jack Rodwell have all struggled to win a place in the team.

Joe Hart and James Milner are more regularly involved but they did sit out the Capital One Cup final, meaning Pellegrini's starting XI was entirely foreign.

There has been speculation this may have led to disquiet but Pellegrini insists that is not the case.

He said: "I don't know what the speculation is. I think that in every game I try to make the 11 starters that I think are better for that game. The same the whole year.

"In this case there may be a casualty who did not play in the 11 that started but I think all of them are very important for the squad.

"I don't think they have any problems. They feel an important part of what we have done so far and they will be important in the future from now until the end of the season."

Lescott is out of contract in the summer and has intimated that he expects to leave, while Richards has one more year remaining and has so far chosen not to renew.

Pellegrini does not want to discuss Richards' situation at present.

He said: "He has one year more of his contract here at the club so it is not important at this moment. The important thing is Wigan."

Pellegrini laughed off speculation linking the club with Lionel Messi as "just rumours".

Source: PA