Balotelli has banged in five Premier League goals to help City open a five-point gap at the top.
Yet four of his seven league appearances this season have been as a sub — including one at QPR on Saturday when City, without Gael Clichy's steadying influence in defence, made hard work of beating the newly-promoted Hoops 3-2.
Mancini added: "Whenever I put him on in games he hits the ground running immediately.
"After the game against QPR, he moaned to me, 'I didn't get a goal!'
"But I told him his goal is to help the team in a difficult moment — and he'd achieved it."