• Premier League

Mancini wants goals from smoker Balotelli

ESPN staff
September 22, 2012
Mario Balotelli has been urged to deliver © Getty Images

Roberto Mancini has insisted he will not force Mario Balotelli to give up smoking, but wants to see him deliver goals for Manchester City.

Balotelli's use of cigarettes is a cause of concern for Mancini, but it is a personal choice the manager will not interfere with. Of greater concern is the striker's on-field efforts.

The Italy international was left out of City's loss to Real Madrid in midweek - a decision that he was upset with. Mancini claims he has no issue with Balotelli losing his cool about being left out, but wants him to channel that aggression into goals.

"He was upset, that's normal," the City manager said. "I don't think there can be a player who doesn't play and is happy. When you have a full squad it is very difficult.

"I have to take the best decision for the team. Afterwards you might see it as a mistake but before I thought it was a good decision. It was a tactical decision because I had two strikers on the bench and two would have been too much.

"We have four top strikers and, usually, we play with two while two stay on the bench with me. Often we have someone who can play as a second striker like Samir [Nasri] or David [Silva] or Yaya [Toure] and sometimes you only need one striker."

Balotelli may get an immediate chance to press his claims, in Sunday's clash with Arsenal. "Whereas Mario went to the stands in Madrid, maybe he can play against Arsenal because in our squad it is important that we have people who can run, fight and score."

On the issue of smoking, Mancini said: "If he wants to smoke it is his problem. If he wants my opinion, it is better that he quits. But if he smokes ten cigarettes a day and scores two goals every game, then that's better."

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