Refs are out to get us! Vieira claims officials don't want Man City to win Premier League
Patrick Vieira has hit out at Premier League referees and claimed there is an agenda to prevent Manchester City landing the title.
Vieira, who is City's football development executive, believes Roberto Mancini's table-toppers have been treated unfairly by officials in recent weeks.
City lost skipper Vincent Kompany and striker Mario Balotelli to four-game bans and their lead over fierce rivals Manchester United is just two points.
And he's off: Vincent Kompany saw red for this tackle on Nani last month
Kompany was sent off for a two-footed tackle on Nani during the FA Cup defeat to United but Vieira pointed to Frank Lampard's challenge on Adam Hammill of Wolves as the Chelsea star only received a yellow card.
Balotelli was punished retrospectively for a stamp on Tottenham midfielder Scott Parker and again Vieira cited Peter Crouch's alleged eye-gouging of Jonas Olsson as inconsistency among officials.
He said: 'It felt like anything that City will do will be amplified and we get punished, compared to the other teams and the other players.
'I don't want to think about it because I don't want to say everyone is against City or anything like that.
Hard to take: Patrick Vieira feels Manchester City are being singled out
'But when you look at the last few decisions, you are asking yourself if something is wrong here, if people don't want us to win the league. Vieira added: 'Lampard's tackle looked dangerous compared to Vincent's. Crouch, when he put his finger in the eye of another player, looked bad as well.
'We try our best to win the league, we accept our punishment. But when you look what is happening to the other ones, that makes us as a football club really frustrated.
'It seems like if you have one referee you get one decision but if you have a different referee the decision may also be different.
Flashpoint: Mario Balotelli landed a suspension for a stamp on Scott Parker
'It's difficult to understand some decisions compared to the decisions we had. I think this is what brings the confusion. The confusion is dangerous for our game.
'Players are saying that they don't know what the rules mean and if they are likely to be sent off or not.
'Confusion is really dangerous, especially for the referee and the refereeing body. I believe that they're making the referees job more and more difficult.
'A good referee is someone who referees with his personality and with common sense, to make the decision he thinks is right at the moment, not because he's afraid of the consequences.'
Knows what he's talking about: Vieira was a hard player back in the day