Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini felt Scott Dann should have been sent off for the challenge that forced Sergio Aguero out of the Premier League leaders’ 1-0 win at Crystal Palace.
City had to wait until stoppage time to preserve their 100 per cent record in the top flight, with 18-year-old substitute Kelechi Iheanacho pouncing to net a first goal on his second senior appearance for the club.
It is unlikely Iheanacho would have found himself in the action had Aguero not hobbled off after 24 minutes, the Argentina star failing to recover from a late tackle when centre-back Dann struck him heavily on the right knee.
Opposite number Alan Pardew believed the decision by referee Mike Jones to book Dann was correct, but Pellegrini was angered by a challenge he claimed was made “with bad intentions”.
“Sometimes you must show a red card immediately because you know the intentions of the player – just to make you fall down or to go with bad intentions [as] in that case,” said the Chilean.
“I don’t like to complain about every decision as Alan did in the first minutes, but I think that’s an important decision where you must complain.”
Pardew and Pellegrini clashed on the touchline a few moments later when Yaya Toure made a similarly robust tackle on James McArthur.
Although the City boss remained critical of Pardew’s overall conduct, he was keen to play down the incident.
“He came across my technical zone,” Pellegrini said. “He was always complaining about every decision of the referee and I was angry because of that important decision [Dann on Aguero] – I thought the referee made that important mistake.
“That doesn’t matter, it is part of the game. Nothing more.”
City begin their UEFA Champions League campaign against Juventus on Tuesday and Pellegrini was unsure over whether Aguero will be able to feature.
“It’s an important week and his knee, we will see if it can recover from now until Tuesday,” he added.
“It’s very difficult to answer you now. It is important how he recovers in the next hours. We’ll see.”