ROBERTO MANCINI and Steven Gerrard went head-to-head in a post-match tunnel row after last night’s Carling Cup semi-final first leg between Manchester City and Liverpool.
Gerrard’s 13th-minute penalty gave Liverpool a valuable 1-0 lead to take back to Anfield in two weeks’ time, but a largely uninspiring match was overshadowed afterwards by a debate over whether or not Glen Johnson should have been sent off.
Mancini insisted that J0hnson’s two-footed tackle on Joleon Lescott was more dangerous than Vincent Kompany’s challenge on Nani in last weekend’s FA Cup defeat against Manchester United.
But while Kompany was shown a straight red card by referee Chris Foy and began a four-game suspension last night, Lee Mason did not deem Johnson’s challenge to even be worthy of a free-kick.
As Mancini lamented the lack of consistency in referees’ decisions during a post-match interview with the BBC, Gerrard stepped in to accuse the Manchester City boss of hypocrisy.
“You say to the press Wayne Rooney [is] trying to get Kompany sent off and you try and get Johnson sent off,” the Liverpool captain pointed out, a reference to angry comments made by Mancini after Sunday’s game.
“I say what I want,” Mancini replied before finishing the interview.
Both Gerrard and Mancini defended themselves when asked about the tunnel row by reporters afterwards. ”I’m surprised at Mancini,” Gerrard said (see The Guardian).
“He had a go at Wayne Rooney trying to get one of his players sent off at the weekend, and now he is trying to get one of our players into trouble – I don’t think that’s right.”
But Mancini firmly insisted that he was right to call for Johnson to be sent off. “Johnson’s tackle was worse than the one Vinny did against United. Everyone can see this. It was worse.”
The world is going down because people do not apologise. I make a mistake and I apologise. I say what I think and it is not important what Steven Gerrard and other players say.