Mancini believes Balotelli can improve

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The Independent Online

Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini has defended Mario Balotelli, who will sit out the derby against Manchester United tomorrow as he starts a three-match ban.

Balotelli today lost his appeal against the suspension after the Football Association upheld the straight red card he was shown for a tangle with West Brom's Youssouf Mulumbu.



It means the former Inter Milan striker, who scored both goals in City's 2-0 win, will also miss the matches against Birmingham and Fulham.



The 20-year-old has endured a mixed start to his Eastlands career, suffering a knee injury and being booked twice before the Albion game.



Asked if he was concerned about Balotelli's attitude, Mancini said today: "Mario is a young guy, a top player, sometimes he can make a mistake. That is normal.



"In the last game the punishment was too severe. I hope he can improve in all ways. When you are a young guy you must improve day by day. That is important."



An FA statement read: "At a regulatory commission hearing today, a claim that the standard punishment is clearly excessive from Manchester City's Mario Balotelli was dismissed.



"As a result, Balotelli will serve a three-match suspension with immediate effect."



Dutch midfielder Nigel de Jong has revealed that some of the senior players have spoken to Balotelli and told him to keep his temper under control.



De Jong told the Manchester Evening News: "When you are on a yellow card you have to watch yourself, especially in an away game.



"He needs to learn from it and stay focused on his football and not talk too much.



"If it is me, Carlos (Tevez) or Vinny (Vincent Kompany) we always try to tell him he has to stop talking and concentrate on his game.



"But it is not easy for him. He is 20 and has come into the Premier League from Italy, which is a different game for him.



"He knows now what happens and that you can leave your team-mates at a disadvantage because you end up playing with 10 men."

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