Mancini fumes at Aguero's 'stupid' chemical injury

City manager lose striker for today’s game to bizarre mishap and says he ‘can’t trust’ Balotelli

Perhaps it is because he doesn't know how long the pay cheques will last that Roberto Mancini calls in at his newsagent in Alderley Edge each Friday morning and hands over £20 for a EuroMillions lottery ticket.

The Manchester City manager could use a change of luck, given that Sergio Aguero will miss today's critical home match against Sunderland because of a severe reaction to a chemical spray which is understood to have left his foot badly blistered and burnt. Mancini looked like he was burning, too, when he yesterday described the "stupid injury – not his fault".

As City reached the end of a week which has been vastly more trying than one without fixtures ought to have been, you could hardly say they were exuding an air of cool invincibility.

After the sideshow of Patrick Vieira's discussion of Manchester United, Mancini's lack of strikers who are fit and – to his mind – dependable is a serious one. He hopes Aguero will be back to face Arsenal a week tomorrow, though the Argentine's skin reacted badly to a spray after last week's Chelsea game.

With City sources unwilling to discuss the exact nature of Aguero's ailment, it is unclear what form of reaction he suffered. Mancini set hares running by only saying that the problem did occur at Carrington and did not involve dropping something on the foot, receiving a tackle, kicking a door or falling victim to gout.

"I'll tell you when the season is finished," he said.

He was far more forthcoming on another of his strikers, Mario Balotelli – declaring that he could not trust the 21-year-old Italian.

"No, never [I cant trust him]," Mancini said. "Mario is like this. I don't think anyone can trust Mario. But he is a top player and he can do everything. He could easily score two goals tomorrow or in the next game at Arsenal. But we can't trust him. He is a top player, he can do everything in a game, he can score three goals, he can take a red card."

This was not the most encouraging prognosis for a player who will assume greater importance if Aguero's injury keeps him out beyond today's fixture – a game that Vincent Kompany looks likely to play, Joleon Lescott will miss and, on the manager's admission, David Silva will start below his best.

"David always plays here and now maybe he is here," Mancini said, lowering his hand.

It has been the week when Balotelli's reputation for the unpredictable has reached new heights – or depths. He pitched up in his red Ferrari at the public presentation of the new Internazionale manager, Andrea Stramaccioni, walked in and for reasons as yet unknown shook hands with those behind the top table, wished the new manager luck and left. A heated exchange between Mancini and the striker occurred at Carrington 24 hours later.

"I can't take him and put him in his house for two days!" Mancini said, when the Milan episode was mentioned. "Probably the moment will arrive when he understands what he should do when he has two days off. I hope for him [he grows out of it] because he needs to improve in this. It is his job. He needs to work. He needs to rest, but he is young. I just hope he can score five or six important goals in the last eight games."

With the only other striker physically capable of starting against Martin O'Neill's side – Edin Dzeko – looking less than confident, the significance of Mancini's reconciliation with Carlos Tevez is looking more significant by the day, however Sir Alex Ferguson may say City's decision to play him is "desperate" .

"I don't think he can start but I think he can have more time," Mancini said. "It's normal, he is improving every week."

These preoccupations took the discussion a long way from verbal sparring – provoked by Vieira's assertion that recalling Paul Scholes was a sign of United's "weakness" – which is nothing new to Mancini after a career in Italy.

"Patrick is a top man, he knows what he says," said Mancini. "I think every person can say what they think. But I can't talk about these wars. It is not important what Sir Alex said [about Tevez]. I have a big respect for him but it is not important. The same for him in what I say. For me and for him it is important to win this championship, it is not important the words we can say on this.

"[Tevez] is again available to play for us. This is normal, I think. [Playing him is] 'desperation' in what way? We played without Tevez for seven months and we dominated this championship. So I don't think this. He is a City player and we want to recover him and maybe he can help us in the last six or seven games."

Mancini, whose past week has also taken in a short trip to the Medjugorje Church in Bosnia, said he had apologised to the Stoke manager, Tony Pulis, for failing to shake hands last Saturday.

After outlining this turbulent week, he took his leave. Meanwhile, in Scotland, Ferguson's players were beginning a golfing mini-break, split between Gleneagles and St Andrews. It feels like they are in the calmer place.

Exploding eggs and elk-bashing: Football mishaps

Kirk Broadfoot

Required hospital treatment after being struck by an exploding egg. The Rangers defender was inspecting eggs he had poached in the microwave, when one blew up, squirting scalding water in his face.

Liam Lawrence

The then Sunderland midfielder injured his ankle after stepping over his pet dog on the stairs at his home.

Dave Beasant

The goalkeeper dropped a bottle of salad cream on his foot, injuring a tendon in his big toe and ruling him out for eight weeks.

Santiago Canizares

The Spanish goalkeeper missed the 2002 World Cup after dropping a bottle of aftershave into his hotel sink. A shard of glass severed a tendon in his big toe and he required surgery.

Svein Grondalen

The Norway defender had to withdraw from an international after colliding with an elk while jogging.

Richard Wright

The Everton goalkeeper ignored a sign warning him not to practise in the goalmouth, promptly falling over the board and twisting his ankle.

Rio Ferdinand

While at Leeds, he managed to strain a tendon in his knee after propping it up for hours on a coffee table while watching television.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
The 67P/CG comet as seen from the Philae lander
scienceThe most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Arts and Entertainment
Ian McKellen as Gandalf in The Hobbit: The Battle Of The Five Armies
Arts and Entertainment
Sarah Koenig, creator of popular podcast Serial, which is to be broadcast by the BBC
tvReview: The secret to the programme's success is that it allows its audience to play detective
Ruby Wax has previously written about her mental health problems in her book Sane New World
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

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

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

The Interview movie review

You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

How podcasts became mainstream

People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

A memorable year for science – if not for mice

The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

Christmas cocktails to make you merry

Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
5 best activity trackers

Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

Paul Scholes column

It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas