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Dec 14, 2009

Hughes hits out at ref Clattenburg over Bellamy

Manchester City boss Mark Hughes has hit out at referee Mark Clattenburg and claims his personal dislike for Craig Bellamy played a part in his decision to send the striker off at Bolton.

A City source said Clattenburg criticised Bellamy to them as he walked past at half-time at the Reebok, claiming the ref asked: 'How do you work with Craig Bellamy all week?'.

Clattenburg booked Bellamy for protesting about Bolton's third goal before showing him a second yellow card for diving on 64 minutes when he was actually fouled by Paul Robinson and Hughes believes the Welsh international's reputation counted against him.

"I don't appreciate when referees are going out in the second half and are passing comments on who they like and who they don't like in my team, which he did to my support staff," he said. "He might have been having a laugh and a joke, but if that's in his head then possibly that might... I've got to be careful here because we're talking about integrity.

"We all have poor performances, it's just my opinion. I just thought on the day, I've seen Mark Clattenburg have a lot better games than he's had. We're all judged on our performances and there shouldn't be any issue with me commenting on the performance of a referee."

Referees' chief Keith Hackett claimed he could not comment on Clattenburg's howler because it is a disciplinary matter for the FA; while Hughes sent his No.2 Mark Bowen to demand an explanation from the official and could not believe his excuse that he felt Bellamy had tried to con him.

"In those situations, Craig Bellamy bearing down on goal, running at pace, against a full-back is not going to go down because he sees an opportunity to create goals and score goals himself," said Hughes. "That's what he's about. He's not about gaining advantage by trying to con referees. He's never done that in his career and he's not going to start now.

"That's why it's a surprise that the referee, when he spoke to Mark Bowen, my assistant, said Craig tried to con him, which patently he didn't."

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