Balotelli must learn to play with a smile, says Mancini

Roberto Mancini has prescribed different solutions for his two main strikers if they are to find the goals his Manchester City side are in desperate need of. Both Carlos Tevez and Mario Balotelli have appeared distracted recently, the former having submitted and retracted a transfer request, the latter more as a function of his natural demeanour. Regardless, the pair have scored just one goal in City's last four league games. While Mancini has said that his captain just needs to start scoring again, he has instructed Balotelli to just smile more.

A lack of goals continues to be Mancini's Achilles heel and this was further highlighted in the 2-1 defeat against Everton that saw the club miss out on holding top spot on Christmas Day for the first time in 81 years. Tevez, who already has scored 10 times, is doing his bit. Yet Balotelli has yet to match the high esteem he holds himself in.

Mancini takes his side to Newcastle on Boxing Day, realising his £24m signing must start to justify his own hype. "He must improve in this situation," said the Manchester City manager. "You need to smile to play football. That is the best thing you can do. It is good when a player has confidence in himself. Mario Balotelli has everything you need to be one of the best players in the world.

"But he must improve and he must show it. Only if you play well in every game can you say these things. If he thinks what he says he must show it in every game."

If trying to keep Balotelli's mouth closed was a big enough job, then Tevez has the chance to do his talking on the pitch. Asked whether he should follow Wayne Rooney's route and apologise to the club's supporters, Mancini said: "Maybe, I don't know. The fans still love him. But I think what is most important is that Carlos plays well, scores goals and the fans will love him."

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

How a costume drama became a Sunday night staple
Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers as he pushes Tories on housing

Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers

Labour leader pushes Tories on housing
Aviation history is littered with grand failures - from the the Bristol Brabazon to Concorde - but what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?

Aviation history is littered with grand failures

But what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?
Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of Soviet-style 'iron curtains' right across Europe

Fortress Europe?

Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of 'iron curtains'
Never mind what you're wearing, it's what you're reclining on

Never mind what you're wearing

It's what you're reclining on that matters
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

Marginal Streets project documents voters

Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

The real-life kingdom of Westeros

Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

How to survive a Twitter mauling

Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

At dawn, the young remember the young

A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

Follow the money as never before

Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

Samuel West interview

The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence