MANCHESTER, March 25 – Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini and Everton boss David Moyes look set to face an FA investigation after the pair were dismissed during the visitors' 2-0 win at Eastlands.
Goals from Everton midfielders Tim Cahill and Mikel Arteta hampered City’s hopes of finishing in the Premier League’s top four and qualifying for next season’s Champions League – a success which Mancini may need if he is to save his job.
The pressure certainly seemed to be telling on the Italian in the last minute on Wednesday as he stormed into Moyes’ touchline area to try and wrestle the ball from his grasp after the Everton chief had caught it.
Referee Peter Walton sent the pair from the field as their dispute escalated, although Mancini did appear to be the aggressor.
"Next time I will just let the ball run," said Moyes. "I caught it because I was making a substitution and it actually would have helped him.
"I was very surprised that I got sent off, if I had kicked the ball down the touchline, I could have understood it. But I actually speeded it up and I wasn’t the one throughout the game waving cards."
Mancini had, indeed, been gesturing to Walton throughout the game, brandishing imaginary yellow cards in an attempt to have more players booked.
"Probably," said Mancini when asked about Moyes’ allegation. "But that can happen sometimes. Next time I won’t do it."
The ill-feeling between Moyes and City dates back to last year when the Eastlands club were in the process of courting Everton defender Joleon Lescott, a player for whom Mancini’s predecessor Mark Hughes eventually paid 22 million pounds.
"The top four is not a possibility for us this season because we had a terrible start and a lot of that was to do with Manchester City," Moyes said. "They made it difficult, which makes this win lovely.
"We wanted to come here with a bit of dignity and class but these things happen in football. He showed his passion for his team and his club and I can accept that no problem. Now, I’m going to go for a drink with him."
The FA seem certain to take some action against the pair, as they will figure in the referee’s report, although Mancini acted surprised at such a prospect.
In 2006, Arsenal’s Arsene Wenger and then West Ham manager Alan Pardew were involved in a similar altercation which ended with the former fined 10,000 pounds and the latter let off on appeal.
Mancini said: "I have spoken now with David and if I made a mistake, I am sorry to him and to the referee. I have apologised to the referee. There were five minutes to go and I only wanted to get the ball.
"I was frustrated for the players and myself because we played a good game and for me we didn’t deserve to lose.
"It was nothing. It’s finished. The referee sent us off, I wasn’t aggressive, I only went for the ball and I don’t know (if the FA will take further action)."
Mancini also insisted Moyes’ pre-match claims that City’s squad lacked passion and commitment to their club did not affect his players.
"I think we have a good spirit," he said. "We have a good team and if we believe in ourselves we can get fourth position."