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Nov 17, 2012

Mancini fires Balotelli warning

Roberto Mancini has revealed that Mario Balotelli was dropped for Manchester City's game against Tottenham because of his attitude in training.

• Blog: Force of nature rolls on

The Italian striker was not even named on the bench for the Premier League champions' 2-1 victory, with Mancini declaring that Balotelli had not trained properly in the previous week.

"I told him this was the reason - because he didn't work well for three days," the City manager said.

"I think Mario needs to work harder. If any player doesn't work hard it is difficult that he can play at this level. What you do in training you do in the game, and every player needs to work hard to improve his performance in the training sessions. After that he can play well in the game."

Balotelli was subsequently pictured on a night out on the evening before the Spurs game but Mancini said he had no problem with that.

"He [knew he] was out of the team on Saturday morning," Mancini added. "He could do what he wanted."

However, Mancini highlighted Balotelli's value to the club by saying his compatriot offers him options his other three strikers, Carlos Tevez, Sergio Aguero and Edin Dzeko do not have his ability to play as a winger.

"If we want to play two or three strikers, Mario is the only player that can play wide left or right," he said. "The other players, Carlos, Sergio, Edin are different from that."

Mancini also declared he has complete faith in Joe Hart after the goalkeeper erred for two of Zlatan Ibrahimovic's four goals in Sweden's 4-2 win over England on Wednesday.

In 2010, Mancini promoted Hart ahead of the more experienced Shay Given to become City's first-choice goalkeeper.

"I trust Joe 100%," he said. "Two years ago when Joe was young a lot of people wanted Shay in the goal but I decided this because I thought Joe could become one of the top keepers in the world. Joe is young and needs to work very hard. Only like this can you improve your performance."

However, Mancini warned his goalkeeper that no player'sposition is guaranteed if he loses form.

He said: "For me he is the first choice but if he does not play well I change. I don't have any problem. Joe is like Mario, like all the other players."

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