• Premier League

Balotelli will face United - Mancini

ESPN staff
April 12, 2012
Mario Balotelli's latest brush with controversy © Getty Images

Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini insists Mario Balotelli will be selected to take on Premier League title rivals United later this month, despite previously stating the controversial striker would not play again this season.

Mancini said on Sunday that he was "finished" with Balotelli and that he would "probably" sell his compatriot in the coming summer following his dismissal against Arsenal.

However, after the FA confirmed Balotelli would face no retrospective action for his tackle on Alex Song at Arsenal - an announcement that means he will be banned for three matches rather than nine - the striker will be available for what could prove to be the most important clash of the season.

"I thought Mario would be banned for six or seven games, that's why I said he wouldn't play again this season," said Mancini.

"He only got three games so I'm pleased for this. He will be back for Manchester United [on April 30], he will be ready."

City cut United's lead at the top of the Premier League table to five points on Wednesday evening as they cantered to a 4-0 win over West Brom, while United suffered a 1-0 defeat at Wigan.

After the game, Mancini suggested the title race was already over, but claims adding to City's 6-1 victory over United last November would be a matter of local pride rather than competition points.

"It's important for us to beat United here, to beat them two times in a season," he said.

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