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West Brom boss Hodgson: Man City need strong leadership to control Balotelli

West Bromwich Albion boss Roy Hodgson says Manchester City need stronger leadership to control players like Mario Balotelli.

Hodgson has a link with Balotelli thanks to his time at Inter Milan.

When asked about how he would handle a difficult player he replied: "To use a Swedish phrase: 'The church should be in the centre of the village.'

"What does that mean? In football terms, what's the church?

"It's the manager and the ownership of the club. Once you get difficult players, backed up by a sympathetic media, then the church gets moved around.

"It becomes very difficult. No player is bigger than his club. No player should really be a stronger person than the manager.

"When that happens you are taking the power away from the manager and giving it to someone who may not have the club's best interests at heart.

"I'm not talking here about Mario Balotelli. I have no interest in him.

"But if you talk about Manchester United and their strength for many years, Sir Alex Ferguson is so obviously above the players, that he has the power to say: 'Right, you are not doing the job correctly as I want it done. Therefore I'm prepared to jettison you'.

"Once you take that power away you are weakening the club. It should always be Club FC, not Player FC.

"Unfortunately, we live in a world where the manager's contribution is far less valued than that of individual players.

"It becomes impossible to manage the club unless you have the owner's backing.

"It's about leadership. Where is it coming from? From the top of the club or outside influences? Sometimes people have to be strong. The fans may be baying for blood. But you need owners to say we know what's best for our club. We will accept the brickbats in the short-term.

"I think we don't talk enough about leadership. We talk about individual cases but we forget with people like Sir Alex that it's not always about tactics. It goes beyond putting your arm around someone at the right time. But football clubs are institutions and no one individual can go beyond that.

"If I was the owner at West Bromwich Albion then I think we should still stick to similar principles. When a player risks disrupting all of the good work that was going on, I would be the first to back the manager. However, there is a financial element to all of this.

"We have seen it with Carlos Tevez. It's pretty obvious to everyone that the reason has come back is that if he stays away that's an awful lot of money out of the window."

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Tribal Football Staff

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