Manchester City's Yaya Toure (Photo: Reuters)
Manchester City midfielder Yaya Toure on Thursday dismissed reports of dressing-room bust-ups with team-mate Mario Balotelli.
Reports alleged the pair clashed at half-time in City's 3-3 draw at home to Sunderland last weekend as well as during the defeat at Swansea.
But Toure said he views Balotelli as a "brother" and "loves" him.
"They said I fought with Mario at Swansea and against Sunderland," he said in an interview with the Daily Mail. "That shocked me. My lawyers called me about this and it was the first I knew about it.
"It's just not true. It didn't happen. I am a footballer, not a boxer. People don't know my relationship with Mario. He's not my friend, he's my brother and I love him. To say we had a fight is very sad. It upset me and I feel sorry for Mario. He suffers most from these things.
"At half-time against Sunderland it was very difficult. We are trying to win the league and are losing 2-1. It's not good. But everybody was quiet. We were just looking at each other, trying to find a way to turn the result.
"But I didn't even talk to Mario. The next day he sent me a text message saying, 'Apparently we had a fight'. I just want to stop people writing and thinking that."
Meanwhile, City manager Roberto Mancini, who has seen his side slip five points behind leaders Manchester United in the race for the English Premier League title, added: "Yaya Toure—that is totally false."
Mancini, speaking at a news conference on Thursday ahead of this weekend's match away to Arsenal, insisted too much was made of Balotelli's behaviour.
"There are some people who think bad things against other people, like Mario," said Mancini.
"Every time Mario does something, (it) is like a war," he added of his fellow Italian.
"There are other people on and off the pitch that do worse than Mario and no-one says anything because maybe they play for an important team or are not like Mario."
However, Mancini said the 21-year-old had to take some reponsibility for the unwanted headlines that have accompanied him since he arrived at Eastlands.
"I would like Mario to play, score and finish the other situation.
"It is not maybe your (the media's) fault—it is his fault because if he wants he can play and stay at home. Like this, no people can ask about the other situation."
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