Manuel Pellegrini accuses City of complacency after Burnley revival stuns champions
Manchester City fail to exploit Chelsea slip-up as Mourinho vents fury at referee
A diving Joe Hart can’t keep out Ashley Barnes’s equaliser for Burnley against Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium. The goal meant City failed to record a club record 10th consecutive victory. Photograph: Getty Images
Manuel Pellegrini accused Manchester City of complacency after allowing a two-goal half-time lead over Burnley to slip as the champions missed the chance to go a point behind Chelsea, who drew at Southampton.
City led through strikes from David Silva and Fernandinho but George Boyd scored 76 seconds into the second half and Ashley Barnes’s 81st-minute equaliser meant City failed to record a club record 10th consecutive victory and allowed Chelsea to maintain their three-point advantage going into 2015.
“Maybe winning 2-0 we thought the game was over but until the last whistle the game is never finished,” Pellegrini said. “So we couldn’t continue with the same pace. I can explain, of course I can explain – football has a lot of things that decide the score. We played well in the first half, we were 2-0 up. In the [second] minute of the second half, Burnley score a clear offside goal. After that they scored the second from a rebound.”
Although Boyd may have been offside – the strike came from a Danny Ings cross that he appeared to touch past Joe Hart – and Pellegrini spoke of a heavy pitch and of his team running out of stamina, he claimed not to be blaming bad luck for the result.
“The pitch was very heavy,” the manager said. “Two games in 48 hours but we were winning 2-0. Once it was 2-2 we didn’t have the legs to score. I am not saying we are unfortunate. I don’t say that. I am saying in football, just two balls can decide the score. I think we play very well in the first half. In the second half when they score, they grow.”
Of the missed chance to close in on Chelsea, the Chilean said: “Of course, it is a chance to have two more points but we have to play a complete second round. We finished the first round with 43 points; that is a good amount of points.”
Yaya Touré missed the match because of injury. Pellegrini said he would know on Monday whether the midfielder will be available for Sunderland’s visit on New Year’s Day. “We hope that he will be because it was a lesser problem but after 48 hours maybe it is too high a risk to repeat – [it is] a muscle injury in his groin. Yaya was not able to play today, 90 minutes. It was a risk for him.”
“Yaya felt a problem at the beginning of the last game against West Bromwich. He was not 100 per cent so I think it was not good for him to play.”
Of Vincent Kompany, who has been missing because of muscular problems, Pellegrini said: “We will see tomorrow if he is fit for the next game. It is very difficult now to know. He has some problems still in his calf.”
Contain his furyJosé MourinhoFootball Association
Mourinho, whose mood was likely to have been improved by Manchester City’s failure to close the gap at the top of the table, went on to add that his team are being unfairly targeted because a campaign is being waged against them after Fàbregas became the fifth Chelsea player in the past month to become embroiled in a diving controversy. Fàbregas appeared to be caught by Matt Targett in the Southampton area in the second half but Taylor decided otherwise.
“In other countries where I worked before, tomorrow in the sports papers it would be front-page scandal because it is a scandal,” Mourinho said.
“I think it is a scandal because it is not a small penalty – it is a penalty like Big Ben. In this country – and I am happy with that, more than happy with that – we will just say that it was a big mistake with a big influence in the result. I will go to the referee and wish him a good year and tell him he will be ashamed.”
Mourinho believes that his players are suffering the consequences of criticism from outside the club, pointing to Diego Costa’s booking for a dive against Burnley in August.
Steve Bruce accused Gary Cahill of diving in Chelsea’s win over Hull City a fortnight ago, a game in which Costa and Willian were booked for simulation, while Sam Allardyce was equally critical of Branislav Ivanovic after his tumble against West Ham United on St Stephen’s Day.
“I think it is clearly the result of something that looks like a campaign,” Mourinho said. “In the first match, Diego got a yellow card when it should have been a penalty and a red card at Burnley. A few months later, we lose two points in a match where the penalty is there and Fàbregas gets a yellow card.
“Against West Ham, [Enner] Valencia made a very bad dive at the end of the game and Sam is talking about Ivanovic. What is this? What? Why? Which intention?
“And today you come here, crucial decision. One of these matches between two good teams, difficult match, crucial decisions and the ref makes a wrong decision.”
Mourinho said that he did not know who was responsible for the apparent campaign but questioned why there is not as much scrutiny when his players are on the end of bad tackles or when their rivals receive favourable decisions.
“It’s not against me because I am not on the pitch but against Chelsea,” Mourinho said. “In the last couple of weeks, do you want me to tell you the two most important things that happened in my matches? Filipe Luís and Eden Hazard could have broken legs.
Southampton ended the game with 10 men after Morgan Schneiderlin’s late red card for two bookings but the draw kept them in fourth. They took the lead through Sadio Mané in the first half, only for Eden Hazard to equalise on the stroke of half-time.
“One point against Chelsea may be three points against another opponent,” the Southampton manager, Ronald Koeman, said. Guardian Service