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Europa League round of 16 draw

Europa League
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De Jong: Balotelli can be a fool

Manchester City midfielder Nigel de Jong concedes volatile striker Mario Balotelli can bow to pressure to pull off "crazy stunts" - but says he can also produce moments of "genius".

• Mancini to stand by Balotelli

Both sides of Balotelli were on display in Manchester City's 3-3 draw with Sunderland at the weekend: manager Roberto Mancini considered substituting him after five minutes, only for the Italian to score a brace.

He has been involved in a series of controversies ever since moving to England from Inter Milan, yet his talent is clear for all to see, with 13 goals in 13 Premier League starts this season. And De Jong suggests that the dramas around Balotelli actually aid his displays.

"Sometimes Mario is a fool and at other times he is a genius - there are two sides to him," De Jong told the Sun. "Lots of people expect him to pull off crazy stunts and as a result he feels he must do something. People like that need to have upheaval in their lives in order to perform.

"He is happy in his personal relationship. That is important and it makes him more focused. But he knows that he has to become more serious-minded."

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