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Mancini rules out Manchester City exit for Balotelli

The 48-year-old boss dismissed the notion of the controversial Italy forward leaving the club after he played a key role in the 2-0 win over Wigan on Wednesday

Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini has denied that the club ever considered selling striker Mario Balotelli in January, stating that he has an important part to play for the champions for the remainder of the season.

The 22-year-old struck his first goal of the season in the 2-0 win over Wigan on Wednesday night, with Mancini choosing to take Sergio Aguero off rather than the Italian just prior to the first goal.

Both Inter and AC Milan have been linked with a move for Balotelli in recent weeks, but Mancini has dismissed any possibility of the striker leaving during the upcoming transfer window.

"No it's not true. It's his first goal this season and I hope he can improve after this game," Mancini told reporters.

"We have four top strikers but we've had some difficulty scoring goals like we did last season. I hope we can move on from this.

"The season is very long, and if a lot of teams are playing in the Champions League in February it can change everything.

"We are at the top with United at the moment but I think Chelsea can fight for the title as well."

The victory over the Latics at the DW Stadium ensured that City kept pace with Manchester United at the top of the Premier League table, sitting just a point behind their rivals having played 14 games each.

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