Mancini up to his old card tricks as Dzeko heads City three points clear with win at Wigan
Roberto Mancini's red-card row with Wayne Rooney was re-ignited on Monday night as Manchester City’s hard-fought win over Wigan was overshadowed by yet another moment of touchline controversy at the DW Stadium.
City are top of the Barclays Premier League by three points and will go into Sunday’s crunch game at home to Tottenham on the back of a win earned by Edin Dzeko’s first-half header.
Card trick: Roberto Mancini upset some of those at the DW Stadium – and even some watching at home – with his calls for a card to be issued
But City manager Mancini waved an imaginary card at Wigan defender Maynor Figueroa after a handball late in the game, prompting Rooney to tweet: ‘Was manchini [sic] asking for red card’
Mancini criticised Rooney for doing the same thing during the rivals’ FA Cup tie last weekend and the Manchester United striker took to Twitter while watching the game at home on TV.
Mancini, though, defended himself and suggested that it was OK for managers to make the gesture because they are not close enough to influence the referee.
The City boss said: ‘I used to do this but I don’t want to say anything. Wayne Rooney did this. It is normal with a chance like that to do it.
In the book: Martin Atkinson chose to caution Maynor Figueroa
‘I am on the bench. When you are near to the referee you can have more of an influence. I am on the bench and the referee cannot see me.’
Mancini looked in a foul mood as the game ended, shaking his head as he marched down the tunnel.
It is understood that the Italian was furious with the performance of referee Martin Atkinson, even though he tried to keep his thoughts to himself.
‘I do not want to talk about the referee,’ he said.
Edin for the top: City striker Dzeko scored the winner, his first goal in 11 games
Monday night’s defeat keeps Wigan pinned to the bottom of the Premier League.
Manager Roberto Martinez said he believes waving imaginary cards is wrong in this country but admitted the act is perceived differently abroad.
‘To try to influence the referee is not acceptable in this country,’ the Spaniard said. ‘I have been here since 1995 and I know this. When a player does it, it is seen as cheating.
Head boy: The narrow win ensured City moved three points clear of United
‘In Italy, Spain and France, you try to get decisions from the referee. It’s very different to what happens here. Perception and the way we understand the game is different.’
When asked if he was surprised by Mancini saying the behaviour was normal, Martinez said, ‘Not really, no.’