Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini received a three-game ban from UEFA for criticizing a referee.

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Manchester City boss Manuel Pellegrini receives a three-game ban from UEFA

Pellegrini criticized the Swedish referee after his team lost 2-0 to Barcelona earlier this month

Unless he wins an appeal, Pellegrini misses the return leg in Barcelona on March 12

City meets lowly Sunderland in England's League Cup final Sunday

CNN  — 

Even after apologizing for criticizing a referee, Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini wasn’t let off the hook by UEFA.

Pellegrini was banned for three games by football’s European governing body, a decision which rules him out of the second leg of City’s Champions League round-of-16 encounter at Barcelona on March 12.

“Pellegrini may follow the game from the stands only; he may not enter the dressing room, tunnel or technical area before or during the match; and he may not communicate directly or indirectly with his players and/or technical staff during the game,” UEFA said on its website.

He is on “probation” for two years for one of the matches, with Pellegrini having the right to appeal Friday’s ruling.

Barcelona won the first leg in Manchester 2-0 on February 18 and the Chilean was unhappy that a free kick wasn’t awarded to his side in a sequence which resulted in a penalty for Barcelona and City’s defender Martin Demichelis being sent off.

He said the Swedish referee, Jonas Eriksson, was “not impartial to both teams” and added that an official from the Scandinavian nation should not have been chosen in the first place.

“I think it was not a good idea to put a referee from Sweden in charge of such an important match, especially a referee who has made an important mistake against Barcelona in a previous match,” he told reporters.

“A big game with two important teams, that kind of game needs a referee with more experience.”

Pellegrini said sorry three days after the opening leg.

“The thing I said in that moment doesn’t mean what I think,” Pellegrini commented. “I am sure this is a good referee because UEFA are always evaluating all the referees and if he is not a good referee, he is not in the UEFA staff.”

Both Manchester City and Barcelona face crucial matches on Sunday before the second leg takes place.

City, chasing a quadruple, can win its first trophy of the season when it meets lowly Sunderland in England’s League Cup final.

Barcelona, meanwhile, hosts Almeria having dropped three points behind league leader Real Madrid in La Liga.

Read: Barcelona teaches City a lesson