Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini believes Luis Suarez was right to apologise for racially abusing Patrice Evra, but thinks Liverpool made a mistake in their support of the striker.
Ahead of Wednesday night's Carling Cup semi-final first leg, Suarez is serving an eight-game ban after being found guilty of racially abusing Manchester United defender Evra.
Mancini understands how the row erupted, with Suarez claiming the term he was found to have offended Evra with is not derogatory in his country.
But despite feeling wronged in the affair, Suarez did last week issue a broad apology for any offence caused and Mancini thinks that was a welcome step, and does not believe the Uruguayan is a racist.
The Italian said: "I think that sometimes a situation like this can happen on the pitch. It is important to apologise for what he did.
"Sometimes on the pitch you can do something that you don't want to do. You are nervous. You don't think on the pitch.
"I don't think Suarez is a racist. He made a mistake? Probably, yes.
"Everyone can do a mistake sometimes. It is impossible that we are always perfect. It is important to say, 'I am sorry, I made a mistake, I apologise for this and I accept the charge'."
Liverpool have been heavily criticised for their strong backing of Suarez and their handling of the matter.
Their actions included the wearing of supportive T-shirts for Suarez by players while warming up prior to a Premier League fixture at Wigan.
Mancini, at a press conference to preview the game against Liverpool at the Etihad Stadium, said he thought that was "maybe a mistake".
But the Italian also wanted to focus on defeating Liverpool, as both teams aim to reach the Carling Cup final and earn the chance to secure a first trophy of the season.
"If we win the Carling Cup it is another trophy for us," Mancini said in The Sun. "We are not United, we are not Chelsea, we need to win everything.
"If we go to the final, it will be very important for the rest of the season.
"Maybe it is the last trophy (in importance), because of the Premier League, the FA Cup. But when you are there you want to win."