Manchester City boss Manuel Pellegrini has taken a swipe at referee Mark Clattenberg, while dismissing suggestions Liverpool’s English players are crucial to their emergence as Premier League title challengers, reports the Daily Mail.

Liverpool started with six English players when they beat City 3-2 at Anfield on Sunday, while Manchester City included just one, being goalkeeper Joe Hart.

But Pellegrini insists a homegrown nucleus is not essential, and claimed Sunday’s referee Mark Clattenberg played a bigger part in his sides defeat than the Reds England stars.

“I don’t think that is why Liverpool won,” Pellegrini said.

“We beat Liverpool here at the Etihad with the same team.

“In this last game there were three or four important decisions which went against our team. That was not because they had English players.”

Pellegrini inherited a Manchester City squad that included England players such as Hart, Micah Richards, Gareth Barry, James Milner, Jack Rodwell and Joleon Lescott.

However Lescott and Richards are set to leave this summer, whilst Barry has been at Everton on loan, whilst Rodwell has struggled with injuries and is also expected to depart.

City are desperate to add more homegrown players, particularly at youth level, but Pellegrini hinted buying British is simply too expensive.

“It is not easy to buy important English players,” he added.

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