Mancini angered by late Blues penalty

BY foxsports • February 2, 2011

Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini branded Birmingham striker Kevin Phillips a diver when earning the penalty which earned his side a 2-2 draw in the Barclays Premier League clash at St Andrew's.

Phillips made an instant impact when brought on as a second-half substitute and forced the spot-kick converted by Craig Gardner when challenged by Patrick Vieira.

But Mancini felt the 37-year-old had gone to ground too easily as his team suffered another dent to their fading title hopes.

They are now eight points behind leaders Manchester United and have played a game more.

City twice led through Carlos Tevez and Aleksandar Kolarov but were pegged back by Nikola Zigic and Craig Gardner.

Mancini said: "It was a disappointing result for us and we can't keep conceding two goals every game.

"It is impossible to win if you do that every time and the gap at the top at this moment is too much.

"But it isn't a penalty. It is nothing. It is impossible for that to be a penalty.

"He dived, the player (Phillips). I don't understand how the referee gave the penalty.

"When he loses the ball, he goes (down).

"That decision was costly for us. We didn't play well but it was not a penalty."

To add to Mancini's woes, defender Micah Richards was taken to hospital suffering from concussion after colliding with his own player in midfielder Nigel De Jong.

Mancini said: "Micah is in hospital. I haven't spoken to him and I don't know what's happened but it is concussion. He lost consciousness and he is in hospital."

De Jong also suffered an ankle set-back on a night of frustration for the visitors.

But Birmingham manager Alex McLeish hit back at Mancini's verbal attack on Phillips and claimed it was a legitimate penalty.

McLeish said: "If you look at the penalties given against us this season, they've been much softer than that. I'm sure Manchester City have had their fair share of the dubious kind.

"Kevin has flicked the ball past Vieira and he has clattered in to him. That is a foul. Kevin was too quick for him.

"Vieira collided with him. Kevin never dived. Kevin is not a diver. He is a true English gentleman."

McLeish was impressed with the contribution of Phillips who had also gone close with a dipping volley to earning his team victory.

The former Scotland boss said: "Kevin gave us some quality and class. He was very bright."

Birmingham again showed the fighting qualities which have been inbred in to them by McLeish to earn a precious point in their battle to survive in the top flight.

McLeish said: "We deserved the draw. We shot ourselves in the foot by giving away a couple of silly goals but we were excellent in the second half.

"City moved the ball well and have great footballers in Silva and Tevez while Dzeko will bring a lot when he is really fit.

"But we had a right go ourselves at them in the second period and were more in their faces."

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