Harry Redknapp last night said that Mario Balotelli, Manchester City's volatile striker, needed to be dealt with by Roberto Mancini, after declaring the Italian had a history of the kind of stamping challenge which ought to have earned him a red card against Tottenham Hotspur.
Balotelli faces a four-game ban by the Football Association if, as seems likely, the governing body finds that the referee Howard Webb did not see his 84th-minute challenge on Spurs' Scott Parker. Balotelli then won and converted the 95th-minute penalty which sealed his club's 3-2 win. The striker, whose dismissal this season at Anfield would increase the penalty for a retrospective red from three games to four, was issued with a straight red in November 2010 for what was judged a stamp on West Bromwich Albion's Youssouf Mulumbu.
"It's not the first time he's done that, is it? I'm sure it won't be the last," said Redknapp, who will today stand trial for tax evasion at Southwark Crown Court. "I'm the last person to talk about getting people sent off, but it's blatantly obvious if you see that. [Balotelli] reacts like that at times to challenges. Scott has a lovely cut on his head."
Balotelli clattered Parker's head with the back of his leg as he regained balance from a shot the England international had blocked but appeared to play a boot on the 31-year-old as he moved away from him.
"The first (stamp) could be an accident, but the second one? He's back-heeled him straight in the head," Redknapp said.
"I don't like talking about people kicking players in the head but when you see that, it's wrong. Whether he gets sent off or whatever, it's wrong and I don't like seeing people react like that to a challenge. Scott made a good block. I don't understand it. He's not my problem, let somebody else have the problem."
City, whose 2-0 lead was cancelled out by Spurs until the penalty, have opened an eight-point lead on Redknapp's side, although Manchester United maintained their position, only three points behind, after their 2-1 win at Arsenal. Arsène Wenger incurred boos by removing Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain for Andrei Arshavin at 1-1 but was indignant about the reaction to his decision.
"I do not think that I have to explain to you what I do," Wenger said. "I have to stand up for the result and for the substitutions I make. I am 30 years in this job, I've made 50,000 substitutions."