Everton manager Roberto Martinez was left fuming at what he said was a “hurtful and unfair” exit at the hands of Manchester City in the Capital One Cup.
City will meet Liverpool in the final at Wembley on 28 February after a
gave them a 4-3 aggregate win against the Toffees.
Martinez, however, was upset that the match officials failed to spot Raheem Sterling had ran the ball out of play before crossing for Kevin de Bruyne to score City’s second with a thrilling game poised at 1-1. That result would have sent Everton to Wembley to face their arch-rivals.
Sergio Aguero added a third goal that secured City’s place in the final, but an inconsolable Martinez believed Everton’s hopes had been wrecked in that crucial 70th-minute moment when referee Martin Atkinson and assistant Scott Ledger allowed play to continue.
He said: “You don’t mind if Manchester City find a way of being outstanding and scoring three goals but it is very difficult to find an explanation in the dressing room for the players to find a reason we have been knocked out. That is hurtful and unfair.”
Martinez added: “It was a clear decision. The ball is out of play and the second goal affected the outcome too much. You feel so hurt because there have been a few big decisions that have not gone in our favour.
“You have to respect the referees and they have the toughest job in football but certain decisions are clear cut, away from the judgment of the referee.
“When the ball is out of play in the modern game, you don’t expect that to be missed. When it ends up as the second goal, you can imagine the major blow it has to our feelings, our performance and our chances to get through.”
Martinez also dismissed talk of the introduction of technology when he said: “My question to the referees’ chief is do we need technology or should we expect the linesman and the referee to get these calls right? For me that action is so clear. I would expect international or Premier League linesmen to get that call right. I would expect a top referee to get his angle and his position right.”
Martinez’s complaints cut no ice with City counterpart Manuel Pellegrini, who pointed out that Everton had been the beneficiaries of refereeing decisions against his side recently.
“It was maybe a mistake but I think the one thing Everton cannot complain about is the referee,” said Pellegrini. “We lost at Goodison when their first goal from Ramiro Funes Mori was clearly offside and there was also a clear penalty when Jesus Navas was fouled.
“We also had a clear penalty not given when Raheem Sterling was fouled against Everton recently and there was also a foul on one of our players before Everton’s goal in this game.”