1. ITV Report

Mancini: Balotelli spat was 'nothing special'

Pictures showed Mancini confronting Balotelli Photo: Eammon & James Clarke

Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini has played down his latest confrontation with controversial striker Mario Balotelli.

Mancini was yesterday photographed grappling with his fellow Italian in a training ground bust-up but the City boss insists the matter was not serious.

Mancini, speaking at a press conference to preview this weekend's FA Cup third-round clash with Watford, said: "I think the photos show the worst of what happened.

"It was nothing special. There was no fight, this was not true."

The incident occurred after a bad tackle by Balotelli on Scott Sinclair during a training match.

Mancini said: "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."

The clash is one of a number of controversies to have involved 22-year-old Balotelli since joined the club in 2010 and has fuelled fresh speculation he could be sold.

But Mancini, who has given the striker numerous chances to redeem himself, insists his patience has not yet run out.

He said: "No, I don't change my thoughts for this.

"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."

More on this story