Sunday, 16 October 2011

Mancini claims he has tamed bad boy Balotelli


Roberto Mancini may be locked in a ugly battle to oust Carlos Tevez but insists he has managed to reign in his other bad boy - Mario Balotelli.

Tevez's future at Manchester City is set to rumble on into November as the investigation into his refusal to play at Bayern Munich continues behind the scenes.

But Mancini has already washed his hands of the contrite Argentine striker.

Instead he plans to continue to concentrate on the youngster many expected to be his biggest headache this term.

Balotelli was red carded twice last season and upset Mancini on the summer tour with a careless finish in a friendly game.

The Italian striker received a public slapping down for that but appears to have taken the strongly worded advice onboard.

And amidst the drama surrounding Tevez his four goals in as many games for City has gone unnoticed.

Mancini puts his improvement down to a spell being left sulking on the bench earlier this season.

He said: ``Mario is a problem sometimes but in last six weeks after he went on the bench for four games he worked well and improved a lot. 

``I hope he can continue like this for all his life. He is growing up.''

And what a future he has with Mancini predicting the former Inter Milan man can become a massive star with his idiosyncrasies appealing to fans.

He added: ``Mario has everything. He is a strong player, he is a good guy and he is strange which for the supporters is important. They like players like Mario.''

Right now Mancini wants Balotelli to come good in Europe with City stuck in a Champions League hole.

One point from two games has left them third in a group that contains Bayern Munich, Napoli and Tuesday's opponents Villarreal.

Mancini said: ``We have four games left and I think to have a chance of progressing we need to beat Villarreal because we need ten points.

``It is difficult to think about how many points we should have right now in Champions League because every game is difficult.

``Maybe now we are okay with just one point in two games. Maybe the next games bring us six points. It is difficult to tell.

``For us it is important to win our first game and after that everything could change.''

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