Pearce refuses to criticise Styles
By Alex Dunn
Last Updated: 01/01/70 1:00am
Manchester City boss Stuart Pearce refused to criticise Rob Styles.
Manchester City boss Stuart Pearce refused to criticise Rob Styles after the match official missed the handball that led to Didier Drogba's second goal against his side.
An under-strength City side fell to a 2-0 defeat on their travels to Stamford Bridge and whilst Chelsea were always dominant, their second goal was shrouded in controversy.
Drogba, who had earlier given Chelsea a lead on the half hour mark, controlled with his hand before lashing past David James for the home side's second goal.
Pearce, though, refuses to be critical of Styles, who he accepts was merely trying to do his job in difficult circumstances.
"When I first saw it, I thought it was handball and I've watched it again and it was handball. Simple as that," he said.
"One or two of my players were aggrieved and the captain has got sent off for questioning the decision.
"The referees have a difficult job to do and hopefully next week we will get one.
"Drogba is a good player. He scores goals, he costs a lot of money, he is good in the air and he is a handful to play against. I haven't thought about anything else."
While Pearce was forgiving of Styles, he was in a less lenient mood when considering the referee's decision to send-off his captain Sylvain Distin, who was dismissed at half time after twice being booked for protesting about Drogba's second.
"I'm always disappointed when we get a player sent off. I asked him after the game what happened and one thing I can say about Sylvain is that he doesn't use abusive language," he said.
"He said he went to see the referee to ask why he had booked him. The referee wanted him to give him the ball back but Sylvain said he was coming as captain to ask an honest question.
"With that he booked him again and Sylvain will understand next time.
"In the rugby code it is acceptable for the captain to speak to the referee and in some ways it is acceptable for footballers too.
"I always liked to ask referees questions as a player because if I can't ask a question then I can't get an answer and I cannot learn."