Everton's Sylvain Distin questions match officials and big decisions

Everton defender Sylvain Distin believes it is 'nearly impossible to defend' when Premier League match officials crack down on physical clashes.

Everton left the Etihad Stadium on Saturday evening aggrieved to have come away with nothing.

Having matched reigning Premier League champions Manchester City for long periods, the Toffees were hoping for better than a 1-0 defeat.

They also had every right to query the decision which led to their demise.

City were awarded a first-half penalty when Phil Jagielka tangled with England colleague James Milner, allowing Yaya Toure to convert from the spot.

There is a feeling within the Goodison Park ranks, though, that the match officials were a little hasty in reaching for the whistle/flag.

Distin is a no-nonsense centre-half who embraces the physicality of the English top-flight and he believes the art of defending will be lost if referees refuse to let a bit of contact go.

He told his club’s official website: “I think we gave them a tough game. For me, it was a soft penalty which changed the game. It put us 1-0 down and we had to chase the game against a very good side.

“There are some amazing strikers in the Premier League and if you can’t go shoulder to shoulder without giving away a penalty, it’s becoming nearly impossible to defend.

“It’s part of football and you need to accept it but it is difficult to get over it. I’m pretty sure, over the course of the season, we will have decisions go our way as well so we just have to deal with it.”

Distin is right to suggest that contentious decisions tend to even themselves out over the course of a 38-game season, but that is of little consolation at present.

Everton have won only one of their last six Premier League and find themselves stuck in mid-table, eight points adrift of the top-four places they were hoping to challenge for.

The only positive at this stage of the campaign is that the games are coming thick and fast and they will not have to wait long before getting an opportunity to start righting a few wrongs.

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