Yaya Toure has defended stroppy Manchester City teammate Mario Balotelli.

Balotelli produced another show of petulance when he was withdrawn against Notts County, but, despite reports that the Italy international is struggling to settle in Manchester, Touré insists his problems are purely related to a persistent knee problem.

The midfielder said: "Sometimes it's difficult for him. He's young. But he's a fantastic player and the team need him. It takes time because the football here is not the same as in Italy.

"I feel sorry for him because he had a long-term injury. When you have been out for a while it's not easy, but I'm totally sure he will be a top player and we need him. He wants to play, score and give enjoyment to the fans. I know he will be a great player for City."

 Click here for the No1 coverage of all the gossip and transfer news around Manchester City.