Manchester City defender Martin Demichelis does referee Jonas Eriksson not at fault for red card

ESPN FC: Pellegrini frustrated by ref

Martin Demichelis has stated he does not blame referee Jonas Eriksson for sending him off during Manchester City’s 2-0 Champions League defeat to Barcelona on Tuesday.

Demichelis was red-carded following a rash last-ditch tackle on Lionel Messi at the Etihad and the attacker stepped up to score the resulting, if controversial, penalty.

Despite contact appearing to initially take place outside of the box, Demichelis accepted blame on his part that he had “made the foul”, but admitted he should not have put himself in that position in the first place.

“I tackled him [Messi] because we were still outside the box. But I don’t blame the referee. It happened all too fast,” Demichelis told The Sun. “I have seen the moment again on TV and think ‘why did I have to tackle him and not keep running by his side?’

“I was sure that I would get the ball when I made the tackle. And then you think that you will steal the ball from Messi, you realise that you don’t. But I made the foul.”

City Manager Manuel Pellegrini was furious with Eriksson after the defeat and is now facing a UEFA charge for his post-match rant at the Swedish official, who he deemed to favour Barcelona throughout the last 16 clash.

Meanwhile, Samir Nasri believes Barcelona are not as classy as Bayern Munich and insisted the tie is still winnable ahead of the second leg in Spain.

“It is not over,” Nasri said. “Before the game, we said it is a game of 180 minutes and we can do what Valencia did earlier this month and beat them at home. We will fight until the end.

“We will have to gamble, but why not? We went to Bayern Munich and beat them, so we can do the same in Barcelona.

“Are Barca the best team we have faced? No, I don’t think they are. Bayern are the best team we played. Against Bayern, for 60 minutes, we did not touch the ball. They are the best team, Barcelona are not.”

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