Roberto Mancini: Mario Balotelli to get "100 more chances"

Manchester City boss Roberto Mancini says he will give Mario Balotelli "100 more chances" after insisting his spat with the striker on Thursday was not a real fight. Photographs showed the manager and the controversial striker being separated at training on Thursday.

But Mancini chose to play down the incident: "No fight, not true. The pictures are worse. I will give him another 100 chances if I think it's possible he can change. I give him another chance, sure, because he is 22 and he can make a mistake."

This is the latest in a series of controversies involving Balotelli. The images published on Thursday appear to show Mancini shouting and gesticulating at his player, who has scored just three goals in 21 appearances this season. One photograph shows the two face to face with Mancini pulling Balotelli's training shirt, while in another the striker seems to be pulled away by a member of staff.

Mancini stated the incident was blown out of proportion and insisted that Balotelli does have a future with the club if he improves his behaviour. "It wasn't bad," the manager explained. "We were playing a game, Mario kicked his team-mate and I said to him 'go inside, leave the pitch'. He said 'no' so I took his shirt and pushed him off the pitch. This is really what happened. Nothing special. Mario is like this but my thoughts [on his future] do not change, this is not important. The problem could be himself. If he doesn't change, for him it will be very difficult in the future. For him, not me. Mario could stay with me one day, one month, five years. He is 22 years old. He needs to change. His problem is for himself."

When asked whether he lost his temper, Mancini replied: "No. For the first two seconds, yes, but after three or four seconds he didn't want to leave the pitch. For me he should leave." QPR experienced manager Harry Redknapp said he thought Balotelli's problems with Mancini and Jose Mourinho, who managed the young striker before at Inter Milan, pointed to an individual who needed to change his ways. "It can't be easy to deal with him," said Redknapp. "It must be difficult for Roberto to deal with him. You only have to see the way he is. If Mourinho has a problem with him and can't handle him, he's got to be difficult hasn't he? The boy's a good player but obviously there is a problem there somewhere with his attitude. I think the only person that could help him is himself."

Man City's next fixture is the FA Cup match against Championship side Watford on Saturday at Mario Balotelli is priced at 10/11 to score in the game at Bet365.

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