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Manchester City manager Mancini: I considered subbing Balotelli after five minutes of Sunderland draw

Italian manager was angered by the performances of his strikers and left bemused by an argument between Kolarov and the 21-year-old over who should take a second-half free kick

Roberto Mancini has revealed he considered bringing Manchester City striker Mario Balotelli off after just five minutes of their draw with Sunderland at the Etihad Stadium.

Balotelli led City's comeback in the 3-3 draw with two goals but Mancini insisted the 21-year-old should have contributed to the game earlier and lamented Edin Dzeko's lack of impact in the match.

When asked if he considered bringing Balotelli off, Mancini told reporters: "I thought this after five minutes but in the end he scored two goals.

“He didn’t play well. In a game like this the striker should be the difference, but not in the last two minutes.

“In the first half [he should] score two or three goals, because a player like Mario, like Dzeko should score two, three goals in a game like this. In this moment we need our strikers.

"In this moment we need Carlos [Tevez], a striker who can do different. I want this."

Mancini's was further frustrated as Aleksandar Kolarov and Balotelli squared up over who should take a free kick.

The Italian forward reacted angrily as Kolarov lined up to take the set-piece with club captain Vincent Kompany forced to intervene and push Balotelli away.

The Serb eventually took the free kick and Mancini insisted he would not accept another similar event.

“They know that on the ball it should be Mario and Ale [Kolarov], after they decide who shoots. It can happen on days like this, but this is the last time,” he concluded.

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