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Man City boss Mancini prepared to give Balotelli many chances

Manchester City boss Roberto Mancini says he will give Mario Balotelli all the time the controversial striker needs to change his ways, insisting his spat with the striker was not a fight. Photographs showed the pair being separated at training on Thursday.

But Mancini said of the incident with his fellow Italian: "No fight, not true. The pictures are worse.

"I will give him another 100 chances if I think it's possible he can change. I give him another chance, sure, because he is 22 and he can make a mistake."

The latest in a series of controversies involving Balotelli saw the 22-year-old pictured in a confrontation with his manager.

"It wasn't bad," he explained. "We were playing a game, Mario kicked his team-mate and I said to him 'go inside, leave the pitch'.

"He said 'no' so I took his shirt and pushed him off the pitch. This is really what happened. Nothing special.

"Mario is like this but my thoughts [on his future] do not change, this is not important. The problem could be himself. If he doesn't change, for him it will be very difficult in the future. For him, not me.

"Mario could stay with me one day, one month, five years. He is 22 years old. He needs to change. His problem is for himself."

When asked whether he lost his own temper, Mancini replied: "No. For the first two seconds, yes, but after three or four seconds he didn't want to leave the pitch. For me he should leave."

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Dave Williams

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