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The striker's spat with teammate Aleksandar Kolarov over a free kick in the draw with Sunderland tested the manager's patience and he wants the 21-year-old to improve mentally

Roberto Mancini insists he is not ready to give up on Manchester City striker Mario Balotelli, after he was once more in the spotlight for his antics during the team’s 3-3 draw with Sunderland.

Postmatch, Mancini was highly critical of his player, but is determined to see the former Inter player improve mentally.

Mancini told reporters: “No. I am frustrated because sometimes I think it is not possible that a player with his class and his technique can play a game like this."

“I think he is young and I hope for him he can improve very quickly for his future.

“A player like Mario in the Premier League should score one or two goals every game."

 

The 21-year-old scored twice on Saturday as City were forced to come back from 3-1 down in the second-half, both Balotelli and Aleksandar Kolarov netting late on to rescue a point.

However, the fiery Italian launched into an argument with the Serbian full back as the players planned a free kick close to the Black Cats’ area.

The spat with Kolarov certainly did not please Mancini, with the 47-year-old questioning Balotelli’s professionalism.

“This was a bad moment,” Mancini said.

“I think a professional player can't do what they did in that moment, when we were losing 3-1.”

City has now dropped five points behind title rivals Manchester United, after the Red Devils left it late at Blackburn to eventually win 2-0, but Mancini is adamant that everything in their power will be done to ensure the fight stays alive.

“We should be strong, I believe always,” said the former Inter boss.

“The message is always the same - we will do everything to win this title.”

When asked what he said to the players after Saturday's game, Mancini said: “Nothing because they were so tired.

“I said only, 'believe in yourselves' because we have seven games - 21 points. I think with 92 points we will win the title.”

 

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