Manchester City’s Sergio Aguero believes foreign players have a harder time with referees than their British counterparts, saying “there is a little bit of privilege with players” from the home country.
The 24-year-old netted the equalizer in Saturday’s 2-1 victory at Fulham, which was decided by substitute Edin Dzeko’s late strike. But Aguero contends the Cottagers’ opening goal on Mladen Petric’s penalty should not have been given against Pablo Zabaleta for a trip on John Arne Riise.
That view echoed the sentiments of City boss Roberto Mancini, who claimed the decision was the latest in a number of “mistakes” made in the reigning champions’ recent matches.
Aguero was coy when asked if he felt his side were not getting the decisions but more forthcoming on the disparity between nationalities after a game in which Zabaleta and Carlos Tevez had penalty appeals turned down.
“I try not to get involved with problems involving referees,” the Argentina international said. “There will always be mistakes for any team and he got the decision [on the Fulham penalty] wrong, but that can happen in any game. All we can do is not let that get to us and just keep on playing our game.”
Asked if foreign players have it tougher than English players, he said: “Yes, always. It happens everywhere.
“We just play our game, and the referee’s job is to know who is tricking him and who is not.”
Pushed further on whether referees are a bit suspicious of foreign players, Aguero added: “Maybe, yes. It can happen, but I don’t think it did here.
“If it does, it’s not good for anyone,” he said. “Here in England, there are almost as many foreign players as English players and it’s not right that some have a privilege that others don’t.”
Aguero may be frustrated but can take solace from his side’s improved performance by the Thames in a season which it has begun slightly off form.
“Last year too,” Aguero said of City’s indifferent form. “We started well and then we had a period where things weren’t quite as good, and then we finished really strongly. It is hard. We have to think about the job the coach has to do — he has lots of very important players and it is hard to identify 11 to play on the pitch. That is hard. He tries to do the best he can, just as we do.”
City sits fourth in the table after its win in west London, keeping it within touching distance of Manchester United and Chelsea.
Attention now turns to the Champions League and the midweek tie with German champions Borussia Dortmund.
“There are the best teams in every country in the competition,” Aguero added. “It is very difficult but we have a team that can beat anyone. Now we have to prepare ourselves as well as possible for Wednesday and produce a good performance.”
Duncan Steel | via SoccerNet