Toure: Manchester derby would be better without a referee

Rob McCarthy

Yaya Toure has hit out at refereeing standards following Manchester City’s controversial FA Cup semi-final defeat to Arsenal.

The veteran midfielder has also suggested that Thursday’s huge Manchester derby would be better if there no man in the middle taking charge of proceedings.

Referee Craig Pawson was the main focus of Toure’s anger after City had what looked like a good first-half goal disallowed before the Gunners went on to win 2-1 after extra-time at Wembley on Sunday.

Sergio Aguero thought he had scored but the effort was chalked off as Leroy Sane’s cross was ruled to have drifted out of play before reaching the Argentinian frontman.

Replays, however, indicated the decision was wrong while Aguero, who did later give City the lead with a fine solo effort, also thought he should have had a penalty early in the clash.

Toure said: “I think the referees have to stop this. I am very disappointed. It is not the first time, there have been a couple of times.

“If we have to talk about referees, people are going to say ‘we complain’ but when we see the highlights, for me it is very disappointing.

“Maybe on Thursday we are going to have a better referee or maybe play without a referee – I’d prefer that.”

Asked if he thought the ball had stayed in play, Toure said: “Definitely, and it was a penalty and something more.

“But what can we do? If (we) talk about the referee the FA is going to come in for the punishment if we think like that, but I think I need to sleep and rest and forget this game.”

City’s attention now turns to Thursday and a derby which could have a massive bearing on the battle for the top four spots in the Premier League.

Pep Guardiola’s side currently occupy the fourth and final Champions League spot, with United just a point behind in a tight race after they won at Burnley on Sunday.

Toure added: “It is a very big game, an important game. We have to do that job and we will see what can happen. We hope we are going to have a good referee.”