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Roberto Mancini delighted with Manchester City super-sub Mario Balotelli following tough 2-0 win over Everton

Italian boss happy with his side's ability to break down Moyes' stubborn Toffees and reserves special praise for Balotelli after his goal-scoring contribution from the bench

Roberto Mancini spoke of his delight following Manchester City's "very difficult" 2-0 victory over Everton at the Etihad Stadium on Saturday.

Mancini also reserved praise for Mario Balotelli after he came off the bench to open the scoring following a tough game against David Moyes' dogged Toffees.

Speaking to reporters at the post-match press conference, Mancini beamed: “I am delighted with the way the side kept plugging away because I think that we played a fantastic game against a team that is very strong.

"We were unlucky in the first half but in the second half we did better. Before the game we knew we had to keep the ball and try to shoot as many times as possible.

“We had to dig in to win which is a nice feeling. It was difficult because Everton defended throughout the game getting behind the ball so it was not easy for us to find a good solution or to find space but we pushed them for 90 minutes.

"In the end we deserved to win the game and I am very pleased with my players."

The City manager's substitutions worked a treat as both Mario Balotelli and James Milner came on to score, although Carlos Tevez did not feature from the bench.

Mancini continued: "Mario has trained very well in the last four or five weeks, he deserved to play. Mario had not played for three or four games but he worked well. He did not say anything and he waited for this moment and I enjoyed it for him.

“He scored an important goal and now it is important that he continues to improve. I brought him on instead of Carlos Tevez because I needed a player that could play wide and we needed to open up their defenders.

“He gave me a hug after he scored and I am happy for Mario because he is a good guy. His behaviour is so so but he likes Manchester City and he likes English football and I think that today he was really happy. Sometimes when he scores he's unhappy but today he knew that was an important goal.

“I am sure that he will make a big contribution this season because we have improved the team from last year and I am happy because Mario can improve within the team as well.

“I am also happy for James Milner because he is not 100 per cent but he played strongly and scored an important goal.”