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The former Aston Villa midfielder is also backing the Italian to go on a scoring run after opening his account for the season on Sunday in the 2-0 win over Wigan

Manchester City midfielder Gareth Barry believes that Mario Balotelli is happy at the club despite struggling to cement a spot in the champions' starting line-up so far this season.

Reports have surfaced that the controversial striker is yearning for a return to Milan after falling out of favour with manager Roberto Mancini.

But after starting and scoring in City's recent 2-0 win at Wigan, his club team-mate Barry has backed the 22-year-old to stake a claim for a place to the starting line-up again.

"I think he is happy," Barry told the Daily Mirror.

"If you saw him day-to-day, you'd see no reason to think he isn't happy.

"He's probably not played as much as he would have liked, but he's kept his head as well as anybody else who isn't getting chances.

"He started against Wigan and scored, so that will help him.

"Anyone who knows Mario knows he's not going to lack confidence, if he misses two or three, he'll keep trying the same things.

"Hopefully that goal will give him that extra bit of confidence in his play and he can improve from that."

BALOTELLI BACK TO HIS BEST?
7/1 Mario Balotellis is 7/1 to score two or more goals against Everton with bet365
Balotelli's strike against Wigan was his first in the Premier League this season and his first since March. However, Barry is expecting him to weigh in with more critical goals, just like he did last season in the absence of Carlos Tevez.

"Yes, he scored some massive goals last season," Barry added.

"If he can repeat that again this season, it will be good for us.

"It's always important to get that first goal in games and Mario's goal came at a good time. Hopefully it could be good for Mario and he could go on a run now.

"Any striker's goals are going to be massive in a season. To be fair to Mario, he hasn't had loads of chances, but when you do get them, you need to take them, and he took his."

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