Gianfranco Zola hopes Manchester City's Mario Balotelli fulfils his potential
Gianfranco Zola feels Mario Balotelli can shine if he makes the most of his potential after Man City beat Watford.
Last Updated: 06/01/13 1:19pm
Balotelli received a mixed reception from the Etihad Stadium crowd on his return from a four-week absence, having been involved in a training ground bust-up with manager Roberto Mancini two days earlier.
The 22-year-old came off the bench in the 70th minute of the third round clash, which City won 3-0, setting up the final goal for fellow substitute and debutant Marcos Lopes.
Hornets boss Zola, who managed Balotelli while in charge of Italy's under-21s, has a soft spot for the controversial striker.
"I have an affection for Mario even though I worked with him only for a short spell," said Zola. "I care about him and hope he pulls through everything.
"You can see the potential of the man. Even when he came on today, he caused us many problems. He has to find a way of mastering that potential. I can only talk about him and what he can do to improve his situation.
"The rest is not down to me. I am only concerned that a young player with a lot of potential can shine."