Patrick Vieira says referees favour Manchester United then gets upset when the BBC “misrepresent” him

Comment & analysis round-up

Quote of the day: “When United play at home they get some advantage that other teams don’t get. When you go to United, Madrid, Barcelona or Milan, it’s always difficult for the referee to go against these kind of teams. It’s something teams who are used to winning get all the time.” – Patrick Vieira.

Runner-up: “Patrick Vieira has expressed his disappointment and anger at what he feels is a serious and cynical misrepresentation of an interview he gave to the BBC. Manchester City’s Football Development Executive gave the interview at the annual SoccerEx exhibition at the GMEX Convention Centre on Wednesday afternoon. He was representing Football Against Hunger, a campaign to tackle starvation in Africa. An interview given to the BBC’s Dan Roan contained what Patrick feels was a very leading line of questions regarding Manchester United supposedly receiving favourable treatment by referees. Patrick feels that his views have been deliberately taken out of context. Manchester City support Patrick in his strong feelings on this matter and have confirmed to the BBC that the reporter will now be banned from all Manchester City media activity.” – Manchester City statement later on Wednesday.

Patrick Vieira added later on Wednesday: “I am very angry with Dan Roan. I feel he has misrepresented me. ‘I made it clear in the interview twice that I wanted to avoid criticising United and even stated that I didn’t watch the United game against Fulham and had not seen the incident to which the reporter referred. That part of the interview was ignored and my comments were taken completely out of context. I called the reporter twice to ask for a retraction and an apology which has not come. I feel Dan Roan and the BBC have shown a complete lack of respect for me, the ‘Football Against Hunger’ charity and Manchester City Football Club.”

Today’s top stories

Patrick Vieira says referees favour Manchester United

Vieira claims he was ‘misrepresented’ over claims United benefit from referees (Daily Mail)

Vieira is wide of the mark about referees favouring United (Graham Poll, Daily Mail) “Patrick Vieira’s assertion that the big teams, especially Manchester United, are favoured by refereeing decisions in their home games is wide of the mark. When any of the elite sides play at home they tend to dominate possession and, as a result, their opponents give away more free-kicks. That’s a natural consequence of a smaller club going into a game knowing a draw would be a good result.”

Shut it! Rio hits back at Vieira (Sun)

Mario Balotelli in another training bust-up

Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini gives Mario Balotelli a dressing down at Carrington training ground (Mark Ogden, Daily Telegraph) “But Mancini’s exasperation with Balotelli’s efforts on the training pitch led to him subjecting the Italy striker to a fierce dressing down before coach Attilio Lombardo appeared to urge Balotelli to train elsewhere. City officials dismissed the spat as simply another example of Mancini’s demand for high standards. But following a number of poor performances for the first-team in recent weeks, Balotelli’s ability to generate negative headlines is beginning to overshadow his contribution on the pitch.”

AC Milan 0 – Barcelona 0

Lionel Messi serves up magic for Barcelona but AC Milan pull off top trick in Champions League 0-0 draw (Ian Chadband, Daily Telegraph)

Milan defensive masterclass keeps Messi at arm’s length (Jack Pitt-Brooke, Independent)

Chelsea in pole position against Benfica

Roberto Di Matteo gives Chelsea old guard that wanted feeling (Dominic Fifield, Guardian) “Chelsea’s reversion to type feels almost complete. Not only is this club reliant once more upon the key members of its old guard, a core clique accustomed to carrying the team but whose authority had felt challenged by André Villas-Boas, but Roberto Di Matteo is now even leaning upon a substratum of those long-serving professionals. Players such as Paulo Ferreira and Salomon Kalou were forgotten men, apparent outcasts counting down the days to prospective summer departures. Suddenly they feel relevant again.”

David Luiz now a cornerstone of Chelsea’s future (Jason Burt, Daily Telegraph)

Problem solved? Fine-tuned Torres is purring for Di Matteo (Matt Lawton, Daily Mail)

RDM’s use of TLC at Chelsea has healed wounds AVB’s GBH caused (Martin Lipton, Daily Mirror)

Stuart Pearce picking England’s Euro 2012 squad

Pearce stepping up his Euros preparations like he WILL be England boss (John Cross & Martin Lipton, Daily Mirror)

FA needs to act now – this is the Euros, not a popularity contest (Sam Wallace, Independent)

Gossip

£42m hotshot Falcao is Edin to the Etihad (Steve Page, Sun)

Wage demands could scupper Adebayor’s chances of joining Spurs permanently (Sami Mokbel, Daily Mail)

French giants plan £6million Chamakh swoop (John Cross, Daily Mirror)

Features

Barcelona v Milan revisited: The night in 1994 the Dream died (Sid Lowe, Guardian)

Racism within football lingers, say Sol Campbell and Garth Crooks (David Conn, Guardian)

Football and the Falklands (Phil Stant, Independent)