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Football | Barclays Premier League

Mancini happy with Balotelli decision

Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini on Friday said that he believed Mario Balotelli "respected himself" when he climbed down in his attempts to overturn a club fine.

Italy striker Balotelli, 22, was set to take his club to a Premier League tribunal in an attempt to overturn a fine of two weeks wages over his poor disciplinary record last season.

Balotelli will miss the game against Reading at the Etihad Stadium with a virus that has kept him out of training this week.

But Mancini was pleased that the situation over Balotelli's conduct has now been resolved.

Mancini said: "He's very unlucky he is ill. This is an old situation and it is normal when someone makes a mistake he should take his responsibilities and Mario did this. It's normal."

Asked if Balotelli had dropped his action out of respect for the manager, Mancini added: "He respected himself, not me because it's important for him to respect himself, very important.

"I am his manager like other players and if he deserves to have other chances he will have them."

Mancini celebrates three years in charge this week and is pleased with the progress the club has made during his tenure.

In his first full season City won the FA Cup and then ended the club's 44-year wait for a league title last season.

Mancini accepted that the success he has enjoyed is well ahead of schedule and he was also proud that he has helped shift the balance of power in Manchester, after years of dominance from the red half of the city at United.

He added: "I think that we worked really well because when I arrived here three years ago I didn't think that maybe in two years we would win the Premier League and FA Cup.

"I thought that maybe four or five years to win the Premier League because it isn't easy to change things in England and Manchester in particular because for 20 or 30 years United won everything and we changed this because we did well.

"We've also made mistakes, which is normal when we work and it can happen, and we need to continue to work hard to improve our game."

Midfielder James Milner is set to return after a hamstring problem and defender Vincent Kompany should be back after a groin injury.

But France winger Samir Nasri will miss most of the festive period with a hamstring injury and Aleksander Kolarov is absent with a hip injury.

Jack Rodwell and Micah Richards are facing longer spells on the sidelines.

City trail United by six points but Mancini is sure his team will improve in the second half of the campaign.

He acknowledges there have been issues in the opening months of the season, from signings arriving just before the transfer deadline to a host of injury problems.

City finished bottom of their Champions League group and did not even qualify for the Europa League.

United, meanwhile, are set to face Real Madrid in the last 16 for the Champions League but Mancini believes a lack of European football will benefit his team in the new year.

"I think that we had some problems because we didn't have all the players in pre-season and we didn't work with them. It's a big problem.

"We had seven or eight players that arrived one week before the Charity Shield and didn't do a pre-season and we had injuries. With all of these problems to be there is a good position.

"I think it's normal. We can work better but at the same time I think that we need to do more than last year in the first six months we need to work better. That's individuals and the group."


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