'I will give him another 100 chances': Roberto Mancini forgives Mario Balotelli
Pair were pictured shoving and pulling at each other's clothes
Roberto Mancini has played down yesterday's controversial bust-up between himself and Mario Balotelli, claiming the incident was “nothing special”.
Pictures taken at City's Carrington training ground emerged showing the manager entering into an extraordinary shoving match with his striker.
The incident sparked when Mancini took exception to a challenge from Balotelli on team-mate Scott Sinclair. Mancini ordered the striker to leave the training ground and when he refused Mancini tried unsuccessfully to force him by dragging him away.
Eventually the two were separated by coaches Brian Kidd and Massimo Battara and the player belatedly went in to change.
Immediately there were suggestions that the incident could lead to Balotelli's departure from Manchester City, however Mancini has played down the episode.
"I think the photos show the worst of what happened," Mancini said in a pre-arranged press conference to preview City's FA Cup tie with Watford.
"It was nothing special. There was no fight, this was not true."
Mancini went on to explain how the events unfolded, suggesting he only lost his temper for a moment.
"We were playing a game and Mario kicked his team-mate.
"I said to him, 'Go inside, leave the pitch'. He said no and I took his shirt and pushed him out of the pitch.
"This is what really happened, nothing special."
When asked if he lost his temper, Mancini said: "No, no. For two seconds, yes - during three or four seconds because he didn't want to leave the pitch.
"He can't do this against no one, but then it was finished."
Mancini has been one of Balotelli's most fervent supporters, standing by the 22-year-old despite a string of on and off field incidents since the player joined from Inter Milan in 2010.
Some felt this could be the last straw by Mancini has forgiven his player and said he will give him many more chances.
"I will give him another 100 chances if possible, if I think he can change. I am here for this.
"Sometimes I am upset with him because he doesn't everything for this, but I give him another chance, sure.
"He is 22 and he can do a mistake."
When asked if Balotelli would face any disciplinary action, Mancini said: "No, no. This doesn't change my thoughts. This is something that can happen.
"Usually it is between two players. It is different because I wanted him to leave the pitch after what he did."
Balotelli has not played for City since the disappointing derby loss to Manchester United on December 9, when he headed straight down the tunnel after being substituted.
He was dropped for the next match at Newcastle and it emerged soon after that Balotelli was planning to take the club to a Premier League tribunal in a dispute over an internal fine.
He dropped that challenge but his since missed the last four games due to a virus.
When asked if Balotelli could start against Watford, Balotelli said: "No, he trained only four times this week. Not in the starting line-up, maybe on the bench.
"I spoke with Mario yesterday after training, I speak with him always.
"It is not easy to manage him and we can talk about him, but my thoughts about him don't change."
Latest in Sport
Arsenal transfer news: Atletico Madrid closing in on Santi Cazorla - reports
Manchester United transfer news: Arturo Vidal subject of £39m bid
Arsenal transfer news: Arsene Wenger set to cancel moves for Sami Khedira and Morgan Schneiderlin in favour of Jack Wilshere - reports
Five things we’ve learned so far about Manchester United under Louis van Gaal
LA Galaxy vs Manchester United: 'Beautiful goals and beautiful attacks' - Louis van Gaal revels in 'fantastic' 7-0 start
- 1 Fifty Shades of Grey trailer released: First look at Jamie Dornan as Christian Grey
- 2 Is Gideon Levy the most hated man in Israel or just the most heroic?
- 3 50 books for students to read this summer: From Ernest Hemingway to Gillian Flynn
- 4 Students offered grants if they tweet pro-Israeli propaganda
- 5 Rebecca Hall on her film career so far: ‘I’ve played too many repressed neurotics’
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Vladimir Putin is given 'one last chance' to end hostilities in Ukraine
The 'scroungers’ fight back: The welfare claimants battling to alter stereotypes
The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering
Arizona execution lasts two hours as killer Joseph Wood left 'snorting and gasping' for air
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Ukrainian military jet was flying close to passenger plane before it was shot down, says Russian officer
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Massive rise in sale of British arms to Russia