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Arsenal can lay down a marker

Arsenal
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Prandelli: Mario must repay Mancini

Italy boss Cesare Prandelli has urged Mario Balotelli to take advantage of Roberto Mancini's faith in him by focusing on returning to form.

Balotelli, 22, has been warned by Prandelli on a number of occasions that his behaviour must improve if he wants to remain in the Italy squad and the training ground altercation with City boss Roberto Mancini earlier this month has forced another stern message from the national team coach.

Prandelli believes Balotelli must repay Manchester City for giving him the opportunity to prove himself at the Etihad.

"I've talked to Mario [Balotelli] and I've told him that his only benchmark has to be [Roberto] Mancini," Prandelli said. "It was Mancini who has raised him, it was Mancini who wanted him and it is only Mancini himself who can scold him.

"Mancini is the only manager, the only person who can actually make Mario grow. And Mario has to listen to Mancini only."

Prandelli, who recently claimed a move back to the Serie A could benefit Balotelli, says the quality of Italian football has increased due to greater competition for the title.

"This new level of competitiveness helps football, helps our fans and Italian football itself because Serie A is more engaging," he said. "Many more teams face the big guns trying to play open and attractive football and the result is that Serie A is definitely more entertaining.

"I think that Lazio and Napoli have shown great qualities in these years. They are just giving continuity to the work they've been doing so far. But I repeat, I think that the most important side of the story here is that many teams want to actually play open football against the big teams and that's a very positive sign for years to come."

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