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Mancini: I would punch Balotelli

Manchester City boss Roberto Mancini has claimed he would "punch" Mario Balotelli if he were a team-mate with the temperamental striker.

• Mancini to stand by Balotelli
• Balotelli unhurt in car-crash

Balotelli, 21, has again made headlines this week after Mancini revealed he considered substituting the Italian after just five minutes of City's 3-3 draw with Sunderland last weekend.

The forward also engaged in a public row with Aleksandar Kolarov over who should take a free-kick, sparking further criticism of the former Inter Milan player despite his brace helping City to claim a point.

Speaking ahead of a vital Premier League clash for City at Arsenal on Sunday, Mancini has accepted why others some might be weary of him. He said: "I can understand it. I told him, 'If you played with me, ten years ago, I give to you every day one punch in your head!'

"I think in every big game he played very well. I think his problem is his concentration but I work with him every day.

"I speak with him - not every day because if not I need a psychologist - but every two days I speak with him. He doesn't lose his quality. Mario, as a player, can be one of the top in Europe. I don't want him to lose his talent."

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