Roberto Mancini admits Mario Balotelli ignores him
Roberto Mancini admits he cannot get through to Mario Balotelli - but the Manchester City boss does not care as long as his young striker keeps on scoring.
With the Kolo Toure suspension drawing plenty of attention outside the club, Mancini must now focus his side on tomorrow's Barclays Premier League encounter with Wigan.
That could mean another opportunity for the unpredictable Balotelli, who has rarely been out of the headlines himself since moving to England from Inter Milan.
As his former boss at the San Siro, Mancini should have known what to expect when he spent £24million on the 20-year-old.
However, any thoughts the pair have a special relationship can quickly be dismissed.
"He is not listening to me," said Mancini.
"I speak but I don't think he listens."
The City manager was talking about his demand for Balotelli to become more industrious and not rest on his laurels after scoring, as he did against Fulham last week.
It did appear the message got home judging by Balotelli's performance against Aston Villa in midweek when he was deployed as a lone striker and responded with a far more well-rounded display in addition to bagging his 10th goal of the season.
But the drive and determination actually come from within rather than any external force.
And Mancini is happy for that to continue if it helps Balotelli realise his enormous potential.
"It is not important that he doesn't listen to me," he said.
"What is important is that he does well, that he scores.
"But I know he can do better because I know his quality. He can change every game if he wants. He could score in every game.
"I hope, for him and us, he can understand this very quickly."
With Toure missing, Mancini is likely to offer an instant recall to Vincent Kompany providing the Belgium international reports for duty without pain after a recent hip complaint.
Mancini is also ready to welcome back midfield enforcer Nigel de Jong after a six-match absence with an ankle injury, although the combative Dutchman will have to be content with a place on the bench.
"Nigel has been out for a month so it is difficult for him to be 100%," said Mancini.
"Maybe he could be on the bench to play for 20 minutes or half an hour. Then he can be ready for Dynamo Kiev next Thursday."
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