Mancini and Gerrard in tunnel bust-up over tackle

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LONDON — Manchester City boss Roberto Mancini was involved in an angry tunnel exchange with Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard after his side’s 1-0 Carling Cup semi-final first leg defeat.

Mancini felt a Glen Johnson tackle on Joleon Lescott should have been punished for being two-footed, claiming it was worse than the challenge that resulted in a red card for Vincent Kompany in Sunday’s FA Cup tie with Manchester United.

But Gerrard disagreed and made his feelings known to Mancini.

“Gerrard came to me and said I said something,” said the Italian, who clashed not once, but twice with the England international.

“Steven Gerrard can say what he wants. I said what I think. That is what I am used to doing. It is not important what Gerrard or the other players have said.”

Mancini claimed his anger was directed at the inconsistency of refereeing decisions more than at Liverpool defender Johnson.

“I said something (after the tackle). It was not for Johnson. It is for the tackle. This tackle was worse than Vinny’s (Kompany’s)”. Everyone can see it.”
There’s a real sense of injustice among the Man City fans at Etihad Stadium.

There wasn’t much difference between that tackle from Glen Johnson and Vincent Kompany’s on Nani on Sunday.

When asked if he agreed with Mancini’s view on Johnson’s challenge on Lescott, Gerrard told BBC Sport: “I don’t think so. It was a clear winner of a tackle.”

The Liverpool midfielder, whose penalty resulted in the only goal of the game, went on to claim Mancini was guilty of hypocrisy.

“He was talking about Wayne Rooney trying to get his player (Kompany) sent off and now he’s trying to get one of ours into trouble. I don’t think that works.”

Liverpool manager Kenny Dalglish maintained he had not seen the incident.

Kompany missed the game with Liverpool after receiving a four-match ban for his tackle on Nani and will also sit out the league games against Wigan and Tottenham as well as the return leg with Liverpool an Anfield on 25 January.

The Belgium international, who claimed his dismissal could lead to an unprecedented number of red cards in future matches, was replaced by Stefan Savic for Wednesday’s game.

The 21-year-old endured a difficult evening against the Reds and gave away the penalty that led to Gerrard’s winner.

However, Mancini believes the youngster will benefit from his battle with Andy Carroll, in particular.

“Savic needs to get experience,” he said. “It is normal. He is young. Against a striker like Carroll, maybe he could have some difficulties. But in the second half it went better.”

Mancini expects to know within the next 48 hours the extent of the ankle injuries that kept David Silva out of the match and forced Mario Balotelli off towards the end of the first half.