Mancini hits out at referee standards
Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini has voiced his frustration with the standard of refereeing in England and claimed "the rules are not the same for everyone".
Mancini did not want to comment on specific incidents but City’s title rivals Manchester United have benefited from two controversial penalty decisions in the past fortnight.
City, who trail United by five points at the top of the Premier League, also felt wronged when striker Carlos Tevez was booked for diving in last week’s defeat of Norwich.
Mancini has said, with four games remaining, his side’s title hopes are over and still feels that way despite some players expressing a different opinion.
When asked his thoughts on what his players have said, Mancini said: "I am happy because they believe but, for me, I (still) have the same feeling. I think it is very difficult.
"Also after some of the some of the situations I saw in the last three or four weeks, I think it is really difficult for us."
When asked if he was referring to refereeing decisions involving City or United, he said: "Both."
Mancini, at a press conference to preview Sunday’s game at Wolves, was then asked to elaborate.
He said: "I can say it is a very strange situation, only this. For us it is important to finish well this season.
"We want to try to win the next game. That will be difficult. Wolves are bottom of the table and it will be a tough game. We need to play like against Norwich."
When asked to expand again about these "situations", Mancini said: "I am not frustrated. In Italy we say, ‘Every place is the same’."
Asked what that meant, he said: "The rules are not the same for everyone."
Mancini was then asked if he was suggesting the rules are different for City and United.
He said: "I am not saying this, I don’t want to say this. I said the rules, maybe sometimes, are different.
"When I was in Italy I always thought here there were the best referees. My idea has changed, probably."
Mancini remains adamant that City are out of title contention. He said: "Five points are too much and, I repeat, there are some strange situations that I do not like – we don’t have any chance.
"We should go our way, only this. I stay with my opinion for the next four weeks – I don’t change. The title is gone."
Mancini will wait until the end of the season before making a decision about the future of controversial striker Mario Balotelli.
Balotelli, who is currently suspended, has made peace with Mancini following his recent sending off against Arsenal, after which the manager said he would "probably" try to sell the player.
With that merely being the latest in a long line of misdemeanours from the 21-year-old, Mancini has since said Balotelli could stay if he changes his ways – but that is not an issue he will address yet.
He said: "Mario is a City player, 100%. Mario is a top player. At the end of the season we will see what happens."