Mancini - I would punch Mario
Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini has admitted he would want to punch Mario Balotelli every day if he was a team-mate of the Italian.
Last Updated: 06/04/12 12:28pm
Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini has admitted he would want to punch Mario Balotelli every day if he was a team-mate of the Italian forward.
Mancini has voiced his frustration with the mercurial Italy international, who continues to command headlines for his actions on and off the field, on numerous occasions this season.
Balotelli has been involved in a number of training ground bust-ups, while Yaya Toure moved to dismiss claims he had a dressing room spat with the former Inter Milan man.
The City boss remains determined to get the best out of the controversial 21-year-old - who walked away unhurt from a car crash on Thursday - but admits he could see why others might be weary of him.
Mancini said: "I can understand it. I told him, 'If you played with me, 10 years ago, I give to you every day one punch in your head!'
"I think in every big game he played very well. I think his problem is his concentration but I work with him every day.
"I speak with him - not every day because if not I need a psychologist - but every two days I speak with him. He doesn't lose his quality.
"Mario, as a player, can be one of the top in Europe. I don't want him to lose his talent."
City travel to Arsenal on Sunday looking to keep their flagging Premier League title bid on track, with Manchester United having the opportunity to move eight points clear at the summit if they beat QPR at home earlier in the day.
And Mancini has called on his players to leave the management of temperamental forward Balotelli in his hands, with the Italian rejecting suggestions that his former Inter Milan charge is treated any differently.
"I can understand if the other players get annoyed with Mario," said Mancini. "I spoke with the players when Mario arrived two years ago and told them, 'Mario is a young player, he has a fantastic talent but he is young and he can make mistakes sometimes.'
"It's not true I treat him differently - I left Mario on the bench for five or six games at the start of the season because his behaviour wasn't good.
"He has also paid a lot of money in fines for his behaviour. He has paid heavily for his mistakes.
"The other players should concentrate only on playing. It's my job to manage him, not theirs. When you have a player like Mario, you should not say bad things about him because he is your team-mate.
"It's better to say what you think face-to-face. I want to help him, but I also get disappointed with him."