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Dec 21, 2012

Mancini: Mario must respect himself

It's a good thing for Mario Balotelli that Roberto Mancini believes in second chances. He seems to have made peace with his controversial frontman, after the 22-year-old decided to abandon his appeal for a fine.

Roberto Mancini has described Mario Balotelli's £340,000 club fine as "normal" and told the errant striker it is more important for him to respect himself than to respect his manager.

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Balotelli abandoned his appeal against a fine of two weeks' wages imposed because he was suspended for 11 of Manchester City's 54 games last season.

The 22-year-old Italy international said he had accepted the punishment out of respect for Mancini, the supporters and the club.

But Mancini - who has long argued that it is up to Balotelli to realise his potential - said: "First of all he [should] respect himself, not me. Respect for himself is very important."

Balotelli was sent off twice last season and served additional suspensions for stamping on Tottenham's Scott Parker and for a red card against Dynamo Kiev in the previous year's Europa League.

He had planned to take City to a tribunal over the fine, but Mancini argued that it was right he had been punished.

"This is an old situation," he added. "I think it is normal when someone makes a mistake that he should take his responsibility. Mario did this. It is normal."

Balotelli did not travel to Newcastle for last week's 3-1 win and will not feature against Reading on Saturday, but that is because of a virus that forced him to miss training for two days.

"Mario is very unlucky," Mancini added. "He was ill this week, all week. He came in this morning [Friday], but can't do anything."

But Mancini confirmed that Balotelli's City career was not over, saying: "Mario is like the other players. If he deserves another chance, he will have another chance. Now he must deserve this."

Mancini cited the example of Kolo Toure, who served a six-month suspension in 2011 for taking a slimming pill that contained an illegal substance, but who fought his way back into the City side.

He added: "Kolo is another player who is part of our team and played well against Newcastle and Manchester United. If a player works well, he deserves to have the chance to play."

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