Balotelli urged to be patient amid worries over form and fitness

 

Mario Balotelli was frustrated with himself, rather than his manager, when he left the field after an hour of Manchester City's FA Cup win over Notts County, having felt that that he should not have missed out on goals. Balotelli's characteristically vivid expression of frustration – he threw his snood to the ground – was interpreted as a reaction to Roberto Mancini's decision to substitute him, though the 20-year-old is understood to feel that he had a poor game and that he missed out in a way that his team-mates did not.

The Italian has emerged unscathed from the clash of heads with County's Krystian Pearce – which caused him to leave Eastlands for hospital in an ambulance when he later felt nauseous and unwell in the City dressing room. Balotelli was soon making light of the injury, though there was a need for a scan. Balotelli has been unfortunate with head injuries, Sunday's heavy clash being the latest of three that included a collision with a post when playing for Internazionale at Genoa.

The Italian is being urged to display patience – not his strongest suit – after nearly two months out with a recurrence of the knee injury he sustained in his club's Europa League qualifier at Romanian side Timisoara at the start of the season.

His team-mate Yaya Touré said of the striker yesterday: "Sometimes it's difficult for him. He's young but he's a fantastic player and the team need him. It takes time because football here is not the same as in Italy. I feel sorry for him because he had a long-term injury. When you have been out for a while it's not easy. He wants to play, score and give enjoyment to the fans."

It was an accurate assessment. Balotelli is a young man in a hurry to make his mark in English football, though his own haste has been an impediment to progress in a season blighted by his knee ligament damage. Patience and self-discipline have been needed during Balotelli's rehabilitation from the injury though these are qualities the striker is taking time to learn. Privately, Mancini is more frustrated by the time it has taken Balotelli's knee to heal than he has revealed publicly.

The manager's frustration is borne of an awareness of what he can do. Balotelli is a more naturally talented striker than Edin Dzeko, though the Bosnian's demeanour looks more suited to quick adaptation and his partnership with Carlos Tevez was impressive on Sunday. Dzeko, signed from Wolfsburg, admitted yesterday that he is finding it hard to get used to the more lenient refereeing over physical contact that he perceives in the English game.

"The referees don't whistle for everything here – in the Bundesliga every small contact is a foul. I hope I can get used to it, and have to get stronger. In some situations in Germany where I am not so strong it is no problem but in England ... you have to fight for every ball. I am OK mentally. When I don't score for two or three games and then lose the ball I always keep my head up."

Yaya Touré also sounded like another man in a hurry yesterday when he suggested that though his side did not yet bear comparison with Barcelona they could eclipse them within two years. "At the moment you cannot compare Barcelona with City because Barça are at the top and have top quality players: Messi, Xavi, Iniesta, Dani Alves, they are fantastic," Touré said. "But we are still signing new players and in a couple of years we could maybe be better than Barcelona. We need to continue to work hard."

Touré's comments came in the course of a discussion comparing Tevez and Lionel Messi as the fulcrums of the respective sides, though the Ivorian does not concur with a view expressed by his brother, Kolo, that Tevez is City's Lionel Messi. "I think I know what he means," Touré said. "I don't think you can compare him with Messi though. Messi can beat two or three players at any moment. Even when he's quiet he's still dangerous."



Voices
A Russian hunter at the Medved bear-hunting lodge in Siberia
Save the tigerWildlife charities turn to those who kill animals to help save them
News
Davis says: 'My career has been about filling a niche - there were fewer short actors and fewer roles – but now I'm being offered all kinds of things'
PeopleWarwick Davis on Ricky Gervais, Harry Potter and his perfect role
News
i100
Sport
Frank Lampard will pass Billy Wright and equal Bobby Charton’s caps tally of 106 caps against
sportFormer Chelsea midfielder in Etihad stopgap before New York contract
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
The first film introduced Daniel Radcliffe to our screens, pictured here as he prepares to board the train to Hogwarts for the first time.
booksHow reading Harry Potter helps children grow up to be gay-friendly
Arts and Entertainment
A scene from Aladdin is performed at the Tony Awards in New York in June
theatreBrit producer Lythgoe makes kids' musical comedy a Los Angeles hit
Sport
Usain Bolt of Jamaica smiles and shakes hands with a competitor after Jamaica won their first heat in the men's 4x100m relay
sport
News
Chancellor George Osborne, along with the Prime Minister, have been 'complacently claiming the economy is now fixed', according to shadow Chancellor Ed Balls
i100... which is awkward, because he is their boss, after all
Life and Style
A small bag of the drug Ecstasy
Health
Life and Style
Floral-print swim shorts, £26, by Topman, topman.com; sunglasses, £215, by Paul Smith, mpaulsmith.co.uk
FashionBag yourself the perfect pair
News
news
News
Netherlands' goalkeeper Tim Krul fails to make a save from Costa Rica's midfielder Celso Borges during a penalty shoot-out in the quarter-final between Netherlands and Costa Rica during the 2014 FIFA World Cup
newsGoalkeepers suffer from 'gambler’s fallacy' during shoot-outs
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
Standing the test of time: Michael J Fox and Christopher Lloyd in 'Back to the Future'
filmReview: A week late, Secret Cinema arrives as interactive screening goes Back to the Future
Extras
indybest
News
i100
Caption competition
Caption competition
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

Save the Tiger: Meet the hunters tasked with protecting Russia's rare Amur tiger

Hunters protect Russia's rare Amur tiger

In an unusual move, wildlife charities have enlisted those who kill animals to help save them. Oliver Poole travels to Siberia to investigate
Transfers: How has your club fared in summer sales?

How has your club fared in summer sales?

Who have bagged the bargain buys and who have landed the giant turkeys
Warwick Davis: The British actor on Ricky Gervais, how the Harry Potter set became his office, and why he'd like to play a spy

'I'm a realist; I know how hard this business is'

Warwick Davis on Ricky Gervais, Harry Potter and his perfect role
The best swim shorts for men: Bag yourself the perfect pair and make a splash this summer

The best swim shorts for men

Bag yourself the perfect pair and make a splash this summer
Has Ukip’s Glastonbury branch really been possessed by the devil?

Has Ukip’s Glastonbury branch really been possessed by the devil?

Meet the couple blamed for bringing Lucifer into local politics
Dress the Gaza situation up all you like, but the truth hurts

Robert Fisk on Gaza conflict

Dress the situation up all you like, but the truth hurts
Save the tiger: Tiger, tiger burning less brightly as numbers plummet

Tiger, tiger burning less brightly

When William Blake wrote his famous poem there were probably more than 100,000 tigers in the wild. These days they probably number around 3,200
5 News's Andy Bell retraces his grandfather's steps on the First World War battlefields

In grandfather's footsteps

5 News's political editor Andy Bell only knows his grandfather from the compelling diary he kept during WWI. But when he returned to the killing fields where Edwin Vaughan suffered so much, his ancestor came to life
Lifestyle guru Martha Stewart reveals she has flying robot ... to take photos of her farm

Martha Stewart has flying robot

The lifestyle guru used the drone to get a bird's eye view her 153-acre farm in Bedford, New York
Former Labour minister Meg Hillier has demanded 'pootling lanes' for women cyclists

Do women cyclists need 'pootling lanes'?

Simon Usborne (who's more of a hurtler) explains why winning the space race is key to happy riding
A tale of two presidents: George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story

A tale of two presidents

George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story
Restaurateur Mitch Tonks has given the Great Western Pullman dining car a makeover

The dining car makes a comeback

Restaurateur Mitch Tonks has given the Great Western Pullman dining car a makeover
Gallery rage: How are institutions tackling the discomfort of overcrowding this summer?

Gallery rage

How are institutions tackling the discomfort of overcrowding this summer?
Louis van Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players

Eye on the prize

Louis van Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players
Women's rugby: Tamara Taylor adds fuel to the ire in quest to land World Cup

Women's rugby

Tamara Taylor adds fuel to the ire in quest to land World Cup