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50-50: Liverpool vs. Real Madrid

Champions League 1 day ago
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Feb 28, 2011

Mancini calls for more from Balotelli

Roberto Mancini has launched a stinging attack on strikers Mario Balotelli, Carlos Tevez and Edin Dzeko after Manchester City lost more ground in the title race with a 1-1 draw at home to Fulham.

• Blog: City's troubled trio

Balotelli found the target to put City ahead, but Mancini saw Damien Duff cancel out the goal and the Italian felt his strikers did not do enough to aid the team.

"No, I am not happy with him," Mancini said when asked to comment on Balotelli's display. "He scored a good goal but I am not happy. He should play well, better than today. For strikers it is important to score. But strikers should also play for the team.

"I don't just mean Balotelli, but Carlos and Dzeko as well. They should always play for the team. Mario can play better.

"Sometimes players can play badly. You cannot always play well. But the attitude is always important. If you don't have a good attitude, it is difficult to play with three strikers."

Mancini's Fulham counterpart Mark Hughes was far from happy with the reaction of the Italian to his offer of a post-match handshake at Eastlands.

The delight at the result turned to annoyance when Mancini appeared not to look at Hughes as the pair shook hands, leading the Welshman to withdraw in clear annoyance.

"I am old-fashioned," he said. "I always think you should offer your hand in whatever circumstances, no matter how difficult it is. I did it and did it with sincerity after my team had been beaten 4-1 at Craven Cottage earlier in this season.

"I acknowledged his team were better. Maybe I misread it but I don't feel Roberto really acknowledged the efforts of my team and what we had done by the manner he offered his hand, by not looking at me."

Mancini countered with the accusation Hughes had done exactly the same thing in November following one of City's best performances of the season.

"In London he did the same," said Mancini. "I know he said something but I couldn't understand what. For you [journalists] it is maybe the best thing in the match, for me, no. It is not important. He [Hughes] should be happy. His team got a draw against us."

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