HULL — Following Manchester City’s battling 2-0 win away at Hull City, where the Citizens played for over 80 minutes with 10-men, manager Manuel Pellegrini called out referee Lee Mason after a pivotal decision could’ve cost his side dear.
In the end Vincent Kompany’s ninth minute red card — which came after City’s skipper was caught on the ball by Hull striker Nikica Jelavic who then raced in on goal but was brought down by last-man Kompany — didn’t stop City from climbing to second in the Premier League standings, as they now sit six points behind leaders Chelsea with two games in hand.
But Pellegrini believed Jelavic fouled Kompany with his initial challenge, and lambasted referee Mason for missing it.
“Maybe because we won the game, I have a calm opinion. But I think it was a clear foul by Nikica Jelavic before Vincent made his foul,” Pellegrini said. “But the referee didn’t see it, he saw the foul on Kompany and he was the last man so he sent him off. I repeat, I think it was a clear foul [by Jelavic] just before.”
Pellegrini has a point, Jelavic did appear to force his arm out to obstruct Kompany. But the big Belgian went down very easily, and that kind of upper body strength is usually a trademark of Kompany’s game. Plus the center back seemed to slip just before he hauled Jelavic to the ground, with the only possible outcome being a red card.
City battled out regardless of Kompany’s sending off, as David Silva’s stunner five minutes later sucked the life out of Hull, before the diminutive Spanish playmaker teed up Edin Dzeko to seal the victory late on.
A chippy second half played out, as some other flashpoints flared up. Hull attacker George Boyd went through and looked to dive as Joe Hart raced out at his feet, then City’s England international ‘keeper rushed out to confront Boyd and seemed to move his head towards Boyd. Pellegrini, unsurprisingly, failed to see that incident and felt the referee should be left to deal with it. Would Man City’s manager have been saying that if his side would’ve lost at Hull?
Luckily, they didn’t and Pellegrini praised his side after a difficult week where City crashed out of the FA Cup at home to Wigan and then lost to FC Barcelona in the UEFA Champions League.
“It was a very good response after a very difficult week,” Pellegrini said. “Playing with one player less for 80 minutes is very difficult. It was a great performance.”