Martinez: Ref right, Sterling ‘invited contact’

Date published: Thursday 14th January 2016 9:01

Raheem Sterling: Liverpool 'just another game'

Raheem Sterling: Liverpool 'just another game'

Roberto Martinez felt referee Roger East was right not to award Manchester City a penalty against his Everton side on Wednesday evening. 

Raheem Sterling felt he was brought down by John Stones in injury time as City looked to make their dominance of a lively Premier League clash tell.

City boss Manuel Pellegrini said “the whole stadium could see it was a penalty”, but Martinez viewed the incident differently.

“What you want as a manager is a referee who is 100 per cent when he gives that decision,” Martinez said.

“The way I saw it, I see John Stones going to ground trying to block the trajectory of the ball. All of a sudden Raheem Sterling is quite happy not to play the ball and he wants to invite some sort of contact.

“It is impossible from that point to say if it is intent or if it is a penalty or not. I don’t think the referee could have done it any better. If you are not certain, you don’t want to gamble in a decision that could have been so damaging from our point of view. I felt Roger made the right call there.”

Everton beat City in the first leg of their Capital One Cup semi-final at Goodison Park last week and Martinez was again pleased with the performance.

He said: “I thought in the first half we were very good. I thought we controlled the game for long spells, probably more than Manchester City and we had two big moments in front of goal – Gerry Deulofeu’s chance and Leon Osman with an incredible bit of technical ability.

“The second half was a little different. We found it difficult to impose ourselves but we had to show resilience and concentration and defend well.”

The main talking point prior to the game was the traffic problems on the motorway network surrounding Manchester. Many fans were not at the ground by kick-off – the Everton team coach was even held up earlier on – but the game went ahead as scheduled at 7.45pm.

Martinez said: “I think it was chaotic around Manchester city today, and the access to the Etihad Stadium was very difficult. The M62 was closed.

“We got here later than normal but with enough time to prepare. Delaying kick-off – I am always in favour of to allow fans to watch from the beginning, but it is not in our hands to make those decisions.

“We had to adapt to whatever the police and safety officer decided and we were quite happy to go along with it.”

Pellegrini said: “I didn’t know that. It was strange to see the stadium not full, but if it was a traffic problem, then I cannot say anything about that because it’s not my duty.”

Related Articles

Your Say