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The FA Cup Fourth Round

Pellegrini: Ban was too harsh

Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini has hit back at UEFA by claiming his two-match touchline ban was excessive.

Last Updated: 07/03/14 at 15:10 Post Comment

Pellegrini was hit with the sanction - with a further one game suspended - after criticising referee Jonas Eriksson for his display in City's 2-0 Champions League defeat to Barcelona at the Etihad last month.

The Chilean claimed some of the official's decisions were 'not impartial', before questioning why a referee from Sweden had been appointed to such a high-profile fixture.

The main source of his ire was the dismissal of defender Martin Demichelis, who was shown a red card for a last-man challenge on Lionel Messi, a tackle which resulted in the spot-kick which allowed the Argentine to open the scoring.

The suspension means Pellegrini, who claimed the challenge was outside the box, is not allowed to make contact with his players or coaching staff before or during the second leg of next week's return leg at the Nou Camp.

"I don't think I deserve three games or two games," said Pellegrini, who has been permitted to watch the game from the stands.

"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."

Meanwhile, he has rubbished suggestions of any disquiet within his squad after he fielded a starting XI with no English players in last week's Capital One Cup final win over Sunderland.

Micah Richards, Joleon Lescott and Jack Rodwell have all struggled to hold down a place in his team while Joe Hart and James Milner, who are used more regularly, both sat out the Wembley showpiece.

"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," he said.

"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."

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