Manchester City boss Roberto Mancini has expressed his frustration with the quality of Premier League refereeing, claiming "the rules are not the same for everyone".
Mancini would not be drawn on specific incidents, but City's title rivals Manchester United have benefited from two controversial penalty decisions - against QPR and Aston Villa, with Ashley Young at the heart of both - in the past fortnight.
Having seen United triumph in both of those matches, Mancini feels City only have a slim chance of claiming the Premier League title - despite the Red Devils' recent defeat at Wigan.
"I am happy because [the players] believe but, for me, I have the same feeling," Mancini said. "I think it is very difficult. Also after some of the some of the situations I saw in the last three or four weeks, I think it is really difficult for us."
When asked to expand on these "situations", Mancini said: "I am not frustrated. In Italy we say, 'Every place is the same'."
Asked what that meant, he said: "The rules are not the same for everyone.'"
Mancini was then asked if he was suggesting the rules are different for City and United. He said: "I am not saying this. I don't want to say this. I said the rules, maybe sometimes, are different. When I was in Italy I always thought here there were the best referees. My idea has changed, probably.''
Mancini remains adamant that City are out of title contention.
He said: "Five points are too much and, I repeat, there are some strange situations that I do not like - we don't have any chance. We should go our way, only this. I stay with my opinion for the next four weeks - I don't change. The title is gone."
Meanwhile, Mancini said he will wait until the end of the season before making a decision about the future of controversial striker Mario Balotelli.
Balotelli, who is currently suspended, has made peace with Mancini following his recent sending off against Arsenal, after which the manager said he would "probably" try to sell the player.
With that merely being the latest in a long line of misdemeanours from the 21-year-old, Mancini has since said Balotelli could stay if he changes his ways - but that is not an issue he will address yet.
He said: "Mario is a City player, 100%. Mario is a top player. At the end of the season we will see what happens."
AC Milan are reported to be interested in Balotelli, but vice-president Adriano Galliani was coy when asked about the striker by the Italian media on Friday. "I've not heard from him, and if I had I wouldn't tell you," Galliani said.