Nigel de Jong warns Mario Balotelli over conduct

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The Independent Football

Nigel de Jong has warned Mario Balotelli he must learn from his mistakes after the Manchester City striker's red card shame at Eastlands last night.

Manager Roberto Mancini is giving serious consideration to axing Balotelli from his squad to face Chelsea on Sunday.

Mancini claimed the latest controversy to erupt around the young Italian cost City a place in the Europa League quarter-finals after he had watched his remaining 10 men battle for almost an hour to overhaul Dynamo Kiev's first-leg advantage.

In the end, the Blues fell just short, with many fans pinning the blame on Balotelli, who was sent off for a ridiculous studs-first challenge on Goran Popov.

Balotelli remains a popular figure within the City dressing room but De Jong - embroiled in his own controversy following the World Cup final - admits the striker must start to heed a few lessons.

"He is a young boy of 20 and he has to learn from his mistakes," said the Dutch international.

"I told him. Everyone told him.

"He is still part of the squad and has a lot of potential. He is a very good player but has to realise, on a professional level, you sometimes have to change your mentality."

De Jong will certainly be around to offer his own experiences as a guide and is sure his team-mates will rally round as well in a bid to smooth the rough edges from Balotelli's game that are hindering his undoubted talent.

"We are there to help him, not to criticise him or blast him away," he said.

"He is still a young lad and has to learn.

"But he has experienced guys around him and has to listen to them.

"After the game he was angry and he was disappointed

"Sometimes you make mistakes and Mario made his mistake. But he will get everything straight again."