Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini has apologised for the comments he made about the referee after his side’s loss to Barcelona in the Champions League.
The Chilean had claimed that the Swedish referee was favouring Barca, was not up to the challenge of refereeing a Champions League match because he was Swedish, and that the referee was attempting to ‘fix’ a mistake he made in a previous Barcelona match he had officiated.
“I think it was not a good idea to put a referee from Sweden in charge of such an important match, and a referee who made an important mistake against Barcelona in a previous match. Today he arranged it.
“The more important mistake is the foul against Navas, and secondly the penalty.
“Contact was outside the box – that is the foul, you cannot continue the foul. The first foul is outside the box. Before the penalty Barcelona did not have chances and we were preparing the way to score.”
Today, however, Pellegrini apologised for his comments. Whether his apology was motivated by the UEFA investigation into his post-match comments is up for debate.
“We lost the game against Barcelona. You are frustrated and angry. Maybe I said something but I don’t think that way. I want to apologise.”
The apology was accepted by members of the Swedish sports media, with a caveat:
Apology accepted, Manolo, but don’t do it again! Or we will start to question Chile’s presence at the Olympics.
— Johanna Garå (@johannagara) February 21, 2014
The status of the UEFA investigation is unknown, though when Jose Mourinho accused Anders Frisk of favouring Barcelona, he was accused of being “the enemy of football”, so we’ll see what happens.