Mancini defends card gesture

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Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini has defended his waving of an imaginary card in the direction of referee Martin Atkinson during his side's win over Wigan Athletic.

Edin Dzeko's header was enough to restore City's three-point lead at the top of the Barclays Premier League, however the game's flashpoint surrounded Atkinson's refusal to send off Maynor Figueroa.

The Honduran's handball prevented Sergio Aguero from racing clear in the dying stages, with Mancini seen waving an imaginary card, urging Atkinson to dismiss the full-back.

"I don't want to talk about the referee and that situation," said Mancini.

"It is normal when it is something like today," he added. "I am on the bench. It is different to a player who is near the referee. They can have more influence.

"From the bench, it is what you think at that moment but the referee doesn't see you."

FIFA rules state that only in the preventing of a goalscoring opportunity can the referee punish deliberate handball with a red card.

Despite Aguero being the only player between Figueroa and the goal, with the incident occurring on the half-way line, Atkinson decided against showing a red card.

Wigan boss Roberto Martinez said: "I don't think it was a goalscoring opportunity.

"He has misjudged the bounce but he is not even in his own half. I don't think it is a red card."

"I've been here long enough to understand that trying to influence the referee is not accepted in the British game," he added.

"I've been here since 1995 so I know when a player tries to buy a decision from the referee it is not seen as clever. It is seen as cheating.

"I understand in Italy, Spain and France you try to get decisions from the referee. What happens here is very different."

The controversy comes less than two weeks after Mancini brandished an imaginary card towards official Mike Jones, in reaction to Martin Skrtel's foul on Yaya Toure, which had followed the soft dismissal of Gareth Barry.

"In the moment maybe I did that because I was not happy with the referee but I made a mistake," Mancini said.

"I was nervous, I didn't agree with the referee for Gareth's second yellow card and I did not understand why the penalty did not also have a card. I still do not understand but maybe I made a mistake."

Manchester City
Premier League
Wigan Athletic

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