Italy's Balotelli given Man City respite

Reuters, Friday 21 Dec 2012

Manchester City will give volatile Italian striker Mario Balotelli another chance, manager Roberto Mancini said on Friday

Manchester City's Yaya Toure, left, and Mario Balotelli react Manchester United's Wayne Rooney scored his 2nd goal during their English Premier League soccer match at The Etihad Stadium, Manchester, England, Sunday Dec. 9, 2012 (Photo: AP)

The relationship between the 22-year-old and the Premier League champions appeared to be at breaking point this week after he took the club to a tribunal over their decision to dock him 340,000 pounds ($552,900) in wages for misdemeanours last season.

Balotelli, who missed 11 games last season due to suspensions, has since accepted the fine and withdrawn his appeal.

"When someone does a mistake he should take responsibility and he has," said Mancini. "First of all, it's important he respects himself not me."

Mancini has shown plenty of patience with a player others have written off as unmanageable and the Italian said he was not about to give up now, although Balotelli would not be available for Saturday's match against relegation-threatened Reading due to illness.

"Sure, I'm his manager so like other players if he deserves another chance I will give him another chance," he told reporters.

"This week he is unlucky. Unfortunately he is ill...he came in this morning but can do nothing," he added.

Balotelli has scored one league goal this season and was dropped for last Saturday's game at Newcastle United, which City won 3-1, with Mancini saying afterwards that the Italian needed to work harder.

"He needs to train and when he starts to play like his quality he will play again," he said then.

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