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Pellegrini shrugs off managerial spat as his Man City team march on

updated 5:49 AM EST, Mon January 13, 2014
Manuel Pellegrini (R) with Alan Pardew following Manchester City's controversial win over Newcastle.
Manuel Pellegrini (R) with Alan Pardew following Manchester City's controversial win over Newcastle.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Manchester City win 2-0 at Newcastle United Sunday
  • Take over at the top of the English Premier League from Chelsea
  • Managers in verbal spat after Newcastle goal disallowed
  • Liverpool win eight-goal thriller at Stoke City

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(CNN) -- Managers Manuel Pellegrini and Alan Pardew were involved in an unseemly touchline spat as Manchester City went back to the top of the English Premier League with a controversial 2-0 win at Newcastle Sunday.

Pellegrini's City had taken an early lead through Edin Dzeko when the verbal confrontation occurred after Newcastle had an apparent equalizer from Cheick Tiote chalked off by referee Mike Jones.

He ruled that Yoan Gouffran, who was in an offside position, was interfering with play, but the decision infuriated Pardew.

He confronted fourth official Martin Atkinson and with the benches from both teams drawn into the argument, Pardew also directed some of his venom in the direction of Chilean Pellegrini.

"Pellegrini said something to me on the touchline which I wasn't happy with, it was normal banter where I probably used words I shouldn't have in the heat of the moment and I apologize for that," admitted Pardew after the match.

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Pardew was given a two-match ban for pushing a referee last season and it remains to be seen what action the English Football Association takes after receiving reports from the officials.

Pellegrini, who was angered by a foul on Samir Nasri by Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa, which saw the French star stretchered off, tried to play down the incident.

"Nothing important was said on the touchline between me and Alan Pardew, but I think it's impossible for the referee to handle a game when every time he gave a decision against Newcastle there were complaints," he said.

He has overseen a 16-match unbeaten run for his expensively-assembled side, which has gone a point clear of Chelsea at the top of the EPL.

Arsenal, who play Aston Villa Monday, can reclaim first place with a victory in a tight title race.

Dzeko's eighth-minute goal and a late strike from Alvaro Negredo in stoppage time sealed the victory.

In between, Joe Hart made some fine saves to deny Yohan Cabaye and Loic Remy as Newcastle pressed for the leveler.

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Liverpool later revived their faltering challenge with a pulsating 5-3 victory at Stoke City as Luis Suarez scored twice.

His 32nd-minute strike allied to an earlier own goal from Ryan Shawcross put Liverpool 2-0 ahead until the home side hit back through former Reds duo Peter Crouch and Charlie Adam.

A Steven Gerrard penalty after Raheem Sterling was fouled and Suarez's second opened up the two-goal cushion again before Jonathan Walters gave Stoke late hope.

Substitute striker Daniel Sturridge, making his return from an ankle injury that had sidelined the England international since late November, snuffed that out with the clinching fifth with Liverpool moving back to fourth, five points adrift of Manchester City.

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