Balotelli plays after Mancini confrontation

Updated: September 26, 2012

Roberto Mancini has insisted that he has no problem with fiery forward Mario Balotelli, despite reports of a confrontation between the pair after Manchester City’s draw with Arsenal on Sunday.

Balotelli was unhappy with being left off the bench for the Champions’ League clash with Real Madrid and further incensed by his five minute cameo at the end of the Arsenal game. He exchanged words with Mancini as he was walking off the pitch and, according to reports, the matter escalated from there. The manager was evasive in his comments to reporters but admitted that he may have pushed the Italian star in the tunnel.

“I don’t know what happened after the game. I don’t know if he’s asked me something, but it’s not important this. Mario probably thinks it was important. I don’t know. I will ask him next time I see him.”

Mancini is reported to be unhappy with Balotelli’s smoking habit, which may have contributed to the latest spat between the pair. The City boss wants the forward to give up his five a day habit but Balotelli is reluctant to quit.

However, Mancini gave the mercurial star a chance to do his talking on the pitch last night, naming him in the starting line up for the clash with Aston Villa. Balotelli grabbed the opportunity but it wasn’t enough to prevent City crashing out of the Cup.

The enigmatic striker scored his first goal since the European Championships in City’s League Cup exit at the hands of Aston Villa last night. It was also the first time that Balotelli has played an entire game for City this season.

William Hill Sports

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