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Is a title challenge possible for Man Utd?

Manchester United
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By ESPN Staff

Redknapp rages after Balotelli 'kick'

Tottenham manager Harry Redknapp accused Manchester City match-winner Mario Balotelli of deliberately kicking Scott Parker in the head during the 3-2 defeat.

Italian striker Balotelli came off the bench in the second half to provide both controversy and heroics, as his late penalty secured a 3-2 home win for the league front-runners.

Redknapp accepted Ledley King had fouled Balotelli in the penalty area in stoppage time, to give away the decisive spot-kick. But Redknapp also insisted the City man should not have been on the pitch to decide the game.

Balotelli, already on a yellow card, appeared lucky to escape at least the same punishment again before his goal when his studs made contact with the head of Parker, who had thrown himself in front of the Italian's shot.

Redknapp told Sky Sports 1: ''It looked like a penalty, I've not seen a replay - but the boy who scored the penalty shouldn't have been on the pitch. He kicked Scott Parker in the head. He does it a lot, he backheeled him in the face and cut his head. No-one can make excuses that he didn't do it, anyone can see he did do it.''

Redknapp was delighted with his team's performance in defeat - and, indeed, was frustrated they had not won the game late on themselves when Bale's cross was met by the sliding Defoe, who poked the ball wide.

''We had a great chance when Gareth laid it across to Jermain, we were all up on our seats thinking it was 3-2,'' he said. ''It proves we're as good as anyone, they weren't better than us today but they nicked it in the 94th minute.

''We had a bad two or three minutes and conceded the two goals but we showed great character to come back and I could see us winning from there.''

The Football Association will wait for referee Howard Webb's report before deciding what action should be taken. It was not immediately clear whether Webb saw any of the incident, or none, although if he did not, a suspension seems certain.

It is the latest in a long line of problems involving Balotelli, who seems incapable of staying out of trouble.

''He is not my problem. Let someone else have the problem,'' said Redknapp. ''He is a good player, of course he is. We all know he is a talent. But loveable what? I have my opinions but it is up to their manager.

''It is not something I understand, why he should go and backheel someone in the head when he is on the floor? What happens now doesn't interest me. What is done is done. But I am sure they (the FA) will have a look at it. They must do mustn't they.''

City manager Roberto Mancini has been embroiled in enough controversy over the last few games for waving imaginary cards. Under the circumstances, it was probably just as well the Blues chief was unable to attend the normal post-match Press conference due to a sore throat, with assistant manager David Platt taking his place.

''That is what has got levelled at me,'' said Platt of the incident. ''I haven't seen the VT. Until I have, I can't comment. I never saw anything live. I don't think there was any kind of reaction from the players live either.

''But if someone has seen something, I will be able to comment once I have seen something from a different angle. What we are aware of in the last month is that different angles can show different things.''

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