Manuel Pellegrini

Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini has been charged by UEFA after his criticism of Swedish referee Jonas Eriksson after claiming that he favoured Barcelona during his side's 2-0 defeat in the first leg Champions League last 16.

The referee sent off Martin Demichelis and awarded Barcelona a penalty after the City centre-back fouled Lionel Messi, despite TV replays showing the first contact was made outside the area.

Pellegrini claimed that Eriksson was impartial and suggested that he favoured the away side to make amends for errors his made during Barcelona's Champions League game against Milan last season.

The Chilean apologised for his comments during a press conference on Friday but UEFA have announced in a official statement their decision to charge him.

"Following an investigation by the UEFA disciplinary inspector, UEFA has today opened disciplinary proceedings against Manuel Pellegrini concerning the press interviews given to media after the above-mentioned match," UEFA said.

"The Manchester City coach is charged with violation of the general principles of conduct (Art.11 of the 2013 UEFA Disciplinary Regulations). The case will be dealt with by the UEFA Control and Disciplinary Body on Friday 28 February," the statement added.

After the game against Barcelona, Pellegrini's post-match interview centred on the decisions made by the referee.

"I think that the referee decided the game. Before the penalty there was a foul on Navas when he [the referee] was three meters away from the play so he saw it without any problem. But from the beginning I felt that the referee was not impartial to both teams. He did not have any control of the game yet I do not think it was a good idea to put a referee from Sweden in charge of such an important match and a referee who made important decisions against Barcelona," Pelegrini said.

"But I repeat I think the mistake was to put in a referee who damaged Barcelona. This group referee against Milan and he made an important error against Barcelona."

On Friday mooring, an hour before UEFA announced their decision to charge him, Pellegrini backtracked on his irate comments. 

"We lost the game You are frustrated and angry. Maybe I said something but I don't think that way. I want to apologise."