Manchester City first-team coach David Platt believes his team could have chalked out at least a draw out of their visit of Goodison Park on Saturday, had it not been for poor refereeing.
Speaking to the media after the Champions 2-0 loss to Everton in the absence of manager Roberto Mancini, who refused to entertain media questions after the game due to frustration, Platt insisted that Marouane Fellaini had handled the ball well inside the box in the closing stages of the fixture.
He claimed that had the match referee pointed towards the spot, with the score line then reading 1-0, the visitors could have achieved something out of the contest.
City’s poor record at Goodison Park under Mancini continued on Saturday as Leon Osman’s first-half wonder goal put the hosts in commanding position. The Eastlanders hopes of staging a comeback were rekindled after the break as Steven Pienaar was issued marching orders for a second bookable offence, leaving Everton to play with ten men for almost the last thirty minutes.
However, Nikica Jelavic sealed an emphatic victory for the home team in stoppage time, blasting his left-footed effort in the left corner to consign City to their fourth consecutive defeat at the stadium.
Although Platt admitted that his side failed to play to their potential at the weekend, he claimed that the referee’s poor decision of awarding a free-kick instead of a penalty for Fellaini’s handball had a profound bearing on the final outcome.
He said: “From where I was live, I didn't know whether it was in the area or not. He's just played it back to me. It's not even on the line, it's three yards inside. People can draw their own conclusions from that.
“Perhaps our performance didn't deserve it but that's by the by. Maybe we could have got more out of the game if decisions had gone for us."
The defeat all but ended City’s quest of successfully defended their title, as win for Manchester United over Reading on the same day allowed the Red Devils to further extend their lead at the top to fifteen points.
The title may be well out of their grasps now, but Platt called upon his side to wind their season on a positive note, collecting as many wins as they can from their remaining fixtures.
He finished by saying: “But we've still got an obligation between now and the end of the season, whether it's mathematically possible, which it is at this time, or not, to go out, be professional and win football matches."
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