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Arsenal can lay down a marker

Arsenal
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Mancini: Club back me over Balotelli

Roberto Mancini insists he has the full backing of Manchester City's owner and chairman as he continues to give more chances to Mario Balotelli.

Mancini said he does not regret his reaction in a training-ground clash with the striker, when the City manager was photographed grabbing Balotelli's bib.

But he claims he is willing to offer the 22-year-old "another 100 chances" and said Balotelli, who had refused to leave the practice pitch when his manager ordered him off, will not be punished for his latest indiscretion or sold in the January transfer window.

The Italian said owner Sheikh Mansour and chairman Khaldoon al Mubarak share his view that Balotelli needs to improve his attitude but deserves another opportunity.

Mancini said: "They always support me and the team and I think they are like me in that they hope every day Mario can change - to think only about his job and playing."

Mancini had told the Italian newspaper Gazzetta dello Sport earlier in the week that Mansour liked Balotelli because of his talent and ability to make headlines around the world, something the striker did again on Thursday.

But the City manager believes he acted properly in their fracas, saying: "I did nothing. I wanted Mario to leave the pitch, Mario said 'no I don't want to'. I know it is unusual for a manager to do this but I'm not regretful."

Mancini was angered by a challenge by Balotelli on Scott Sinclair that he said merited "two red cards" but added: "It is finished now."

The City manager has been criticised for indulging Balotelli too many times but insisted: "I don't forgive him always. What I hope every day is that he changes. He should think only of his job and his life, only this.

"I think he should understand that the career of a player is very, very short. He is 22 but three, four and five years can pass in one second. I hope he can understand."

But Mancini believes the incident has been blown out of proportion, adding: "Compared to other times, what he did was nothing."

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