MANCHESTER — Manuel Pellegrini blamed referee Bobby Madley for Manchester City’s 2-1 defeat to Everton by claiming he made an “unbelievable” decision and two “important” mistakes that cost his side.
The Chilean thought Everton’s opening goal should have been disallowed for offside, when Romelu Lukaku was in Willy Caballero’s line of vision as the goalkeeper parried Ross Barkley’s shot to Ramiro Funes Mori, who scored.
And he believed his side should have had a penalty when the City scorer Jesus Navas was challenged by Everton substitute Kevin Mirallas.
Pellegrini said in a news conference: “I am disappointed, especially for two very important plays. The first goal is absolutely offside. It is unbelievable the referee or linesman did not give offside.
“Also it was a clear penalty for Jesus Navas; they were two very important decisions. It is a foul inside the box, a clear penalty. But the referee didn’t whistle for both actions. I give my opinion because they were so clear.”
But Pellegrini is confident City can overcome their first-leg deficit when they meet again at the Etihad Stadium on Jan. 27.
“If you lose 2-1 playing away and if you are not able to win 1-0 at home you don’t deserve to continue,” Pellegrini added.
City lost Eliaquim Mangala to a hamstring injury and Pellegrini said the France international will miss Saturday’s trip to Norwich in the FA Cup, plus potentially several other games.
City are already without one injured centre-back, in captain Vincent Kompany, and now only have Nicolas Otamendi and Martin Demichelis who are fit.
“Mangala has a problem in his hamstring,” Pellegrini added. “Of course it is a problem. We have just two centre halves, Otamendi and Demichelis and we have to play six or seven games more in January. It is a lot of games.”
Pellegrini defended his decision to start with Caballero in goal and said he will play at Carrow Road at the weekend.
“Willy is playing the Capital One Cup,” he said. “He will continue in the FA Cup also. I think he played very well.”