‘I’m sorry’: Manchester City boss Pellegrini apologises for referee comments ahead of Stoke City clash

Manchester City boss Manuel Pellegrini says there will be no hangover from Tuesday’s 2-0 defeat to Barcelona when his team face Stoke City on Saturday.

The Chilean also took the opportunity in his pre-match press conference to apologise for his criticism of referee Jonas Eriksson in the aftermath of the Barcelona game.

Pellegrini said: “When you lose a game the way we lost against Barcelona, you are frustrated, you are angry. Maybe I said some things I didn’t mean so I apologise for what I said.

“Also I want to clarify what I said. I didn’t make any serious accusations to anyone, not to the referee, not to UEFA, not to anyone.

“I always say refereeing is a very difficult profession because they have only have a fraction of a second and after people compare their decisions with eight television cameras.

“It is not my way to act to criticise the referee, but in that case it was not a good day and he decided the game – but not with the intention to benefit Barcelona or damage Manchester City. He was in a bad day with very bad luck.”

Pellegrini is ready to put Tuesday night’s performance behind him, and was adamant the set-back has not affected his players’ focus in their pursuit of the Premier League title.

“They (the players) are absolutely clear in their minds that we are fighting for the Premier League title and we need to continue doing that,” said Pellegrini.

“I don’t think there will be a psychological link from one competition and the other.

The Chilean is expects Stoke, who are managed by former City manager Mark Hughes, to come to the Etihad to fight for three points.

“We are going to play against a difficult team (Stoke). They may not be in a good position but all the teams in the bottom half (of the table) have a lot of points because they play at 100% intensity in every game.”

The City boss is refusing to take the Potters lightly, despite the fact the visitors have won just once on their travels all season, and currently sit 14th in the table.

He said: “I told the players that we need to play with a lot of intensity because they are a good team with good players and I am absolutely sure that it will be a tough game for us.”

Image courtesy of Manchester City FC, via YouTube, with thanks.

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