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."



News
peopleFrankie Boyle responds to referendum result in characteristically offensive style
Arts and Entertainment
Highs and lows of the cast's careers since 2004
News
news
New Articles
i100... with this review
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
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

Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam