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Saturday 19 August 2017

Toure wants a better deal from ref in derby

Manchester City’s Yaya Toure
Manchester City’s Yaya Toure

Yaya Toure hopes to get a better deal from the referee as Manchester City turn their attention to Thursday's crucial derby against Manchester United.

And the City midfielder has even claimed it would be better to play without an official in light of the controversy surrounding Sunday's FA Cup semi-final loss to Arsenal.

City had what seemed a good first-half goal from Sergio Aguero disallowed before losing 2-1 after extra-time at Wembley.

Referee Craig Pawson chalked off the strike because his assistant deemed Leroy Sane's cross to the Argentinian to have drifted out of play before reaching the striker.

Replays indicated the decision was wrong while Aguero also thought he was denied a penalty early on.

City now need to pick themselves up quickly for a midweek clash that could have a huge bearing in the race for top four places in the Premier League.

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.

Rest

"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 looked to have put the controversy behind them as Aguero raced onto a long pass from the outstanding Toure to put City ahead just after the hour.

But they switched off to allow Nacho Monreal to equalise and, despite City hitting the woodwork through Toure and Fernandinho, it was the Gunners who prevailed after Alexis Sanchez scrambled a 101st-minute winner.

For the first time in Pep Guardiola's managerial career, the City boss now seems likely to end a season without any silverware.

Champions League qualification is now essential to prevent the campaign being viewed as a complete failure and the stakes are high for Thursday's clash at the Etihad Stadium. City are fourth in the table with United just a point behind in a tight race.

Toure said: "It is going to be difficult, it is very tight. United are doing well, Arsenal are going to have confidence and Liverpool lost but it is not finished yet. This league is going to be very tough.

"It is a very big game, an important game. We have to do the job and we will see what can happen. We hope we are going to have a good referee."

City will need to assess the fitness of David Silva and Aguero ahead of the derby. The pair were substituted at Wembley with a hamstring injury and dead leg respectively.

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