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Mancini: Balotelli won't be punished for altercation

The Canadian Press

1/4/2013 9:10:14 AM

LONDON - Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini will not punish Mario Balotelli for a training ground altercation and said he believes the striker's temperament can be tamed.

In the latest chapter of the Italy international's volatile City career, Mancini had to be separated from his compatriot after grabbing his bib in frustration during a practice match. But Mancini is sticking by the player who is continuously linked with a move away from his City because of string of misdemeanours.

"I will give him another 100 chances, if it is possible, if I think he can change. I am here for this," Mancini said Friday. "Sometimes I am upset with him because he doesn't do everything for this, but I give him another chance, sure. He is 22 and he can do a mistake."

Mancini accepted he lost his temper Thursday but played down the incident which followed a bad tackle by Balotelli on Scott Sinclair and was captured by photographers watching a training session closed to the media.

"During three or four seconds because he didn't want to leave the pitch," Mancini said. "He can't do this against no one, but then it was finished. It wasn't a bad thing like in the paper. The photo is worse than what happened.

"We were playing a game and Mario kicked his teammate and I said to him, 'Go inside, leave the pitch.' He said, 'No', and I took his shirt, I pushed him off the pitch. This is what really happened, there was no fight."

Since joining from Inter Milan in 2010, Balotelli has rarely been out of the headlines and was fined two weeks wages because of disciplinary violations last season.

"(If) he doesn't change, for him it will be very difficult in the future — for him, not me," Mancini said. "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.

"It is not easy to manage him and we can talk about him, but my thoughts about him don't change. What he did yesterday he can do also during the game. This is the problem, but I have faith, yes."