Yaya Touré says he would prefer to play Thursday’s Manchester derby without a referee after condemning the officiating during City’s FA Cup semi-final defeat by Arsenal.
The City midfielder believes his team have been the subject of too many “unfair” decisions this season and called for referees to start explaining any controversial decisions after claiming it is too easy for them to hide.
Martin Atkinson will take charge of City’s Premier League match against Manchester United at the Etihad Stadium, one that could have a significant bearing on both clubs’ top-four hopes, and Touré has called for a strong showing from the West Yorkshire official.
Touré was furious that a seemingly legitimate goal was ruled out after Leroy Sané’s cross was judged to have gone out of play before Raheem Sterling scored on Sunday.
He was also dismayed that Sergio Agüero was denied a penalty by referee Craig Pawson when the City striker was brought down in the area by Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain. City were similarly aggrieved that a heavy challenge by Gabriel on David Silva that ultimately led to the City midfielder’s substitution was not punished by a yellow card.
Silva has a dead leg and will be assessed ahead of the derby although the Spaniard and Agüero, who also took a knock against Arsenal, took part in a recovery session yesterday afternoon in an encouraging sign.
“I think the referees have to stop this,” Touré said. “Maybe on Thursday we are going to have a better referee or maybe play without a referee – I’d prefer that. It is a very big game. We hope we are going to have a good referee.
“It’s always painful, costly, when you lose games like this. When you lose the fair way – like the game we lost to Monaco [in the Champions League] – it was deserved. But this was quite strange, very sad.
“It’s going to be difficult for me to forget this game because I’m very, very angry. You win, you lose. But sometimes it’s difficult when you think how unfair it was. You have to try to accept it, but it’s hard. [Sané’s cross] was definitely in, and it was a penalty [for Agüero] and something more, but what can we do?
“I think the referee has to come [out] now and give their point of view as well. It’s too easy for them. But if you say anything about them, it’s going to be highlighted and the FA are going to come and fine me. At the end of the day they [the referees] don’t care, but just go.”
Touré believes there is no margin for error against United, who will leapfrog City if they win. “If we win, we will forget this game, but if we lose then it will be more difficult,” he said. “We need to be in the Champions League. City have qualified for the Champions League for six years now and Thursday is very important.”