In the wake of the draw with Ajax on Tuesday, Pablo Zabaleta has given Roberto Mancini his backing. After the match, Mancini went onto the pitch to remonstrate with the referee after City had a goal wrongly ruled out for offside and had a penalty claim turned down in the final seconds of the match. Inevitably, Mancini has been the target of widespread criticism in the media but Zabaleta, who also confronted the referee, has defended his manager:
He is a very passionate manager, his character is like that. He was angry, but everybody at the club was angry after drawing with Ajax. He asked the referee why he didn’t give the penalty or why the flag had been raised. He is the manager, he has to shout at the players. Other managers when they see their team drop some points in crucial games in a Champions League game would be the same. He is passionate, but the players care too and we were frustrated and disappointed. We were frustrated by the referee’s decisions – we knew that Kolarov was onside, then the penalty.
It was important for us to get three points and that’s why we went to the referee to see why. Maybe one point is not good enough, we needed three. We have to be honest and say it is going to be very difficult but we need to continue to fight for it. The next game against Real Madrid is going to be really important for us. Real are probably one of the best teams in Europe at the moment. It will be exciting.
UEFA have decided not to sanction Mancini for his actions.