Manuel Pellegrini believes referee Jonas Eriksson was unfit to handle big matches

Following his side’s 2-0 defeat to Barcelona, Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini accused the referee, Jonas Eriksson, of favouring the Spanish side.

“He did not have any control of the game. He favoured Barcelona from the beginning to the end. I think it was not a good idea to put a referee from Sweden in charge and a referee who made a mistake against Barcelona in the group stages. I think there is more important football in Europe than Sweden. A big game with two important teams – that kind of game needs a referee with more experience. This referee whistled the Barcelona-Milan game and he made an important error against Barcelona. Today he remedied it.”

Anyone who witnessed Howard Webb’s erratic display in Arsenal’s FA Cup win over Liverpool on Sunday, will be amused by the suggestion that only experienced referees from ‘important’ leagues should be allowed to officiate big games.

At the heart of Pellegrini’s annoyance was the decision to send off Martín Demichelis and award a penalty to Barceona for this challenge on Lionel Messi.