Mancini slams ‘stupid’ Balotelli

Manchester City boss Roberto Mancini pointed the finger at Mario Balotelli after his side were dumped out of the Europa League on Thursday.

The Italian striker was sent off after just 36 minutes of the second-leg clash with Dynamo Kiev, and although City scored three minutes later through Aleksandar Kolarov, they were unable to overturn a two-goal deficit from the first leg.

Balotelli was given his marching orders for raising his studs and raking his boot down the body of Goran Popov after losing the ball, leading to his straight red card.

Asked if he hopes Balotelli would be frustrated by his red card, Mancini said: “I hope (so). Because I think with 11 players we would have won this game and got to the quarter-finals.”

“The problem for Mario is that he thinks he could be a fantastic player. But when he does something stupid like that, it is difficult for me, difficult for him and difficult for the team.”

Mancini was still pleased with the performance, labeling it as ‘fantastic’ given the numerical disadvantage, before voicing his frustration with the Russian side’s time-wasting tactics.

“I’m disappointed with the result because we deserved to score another goal, minimum. We played a fantastic game with 10 players,” he said.

“Every time they dived and every time the referee saw it. But that is what happens. That is it.”

But Dynamo manager Yuri Semin refuted Mancini’s claims that his side dived and insisted the match was a physical contest.

“It is part of football,” Semin said.

“There were some quite serious clashes. It was a tough game out there. That is why the referee gave quite a few yellow cards.”

The result means City’s trophy drought, which recently ticked over to 35 years, could continue with the club’s focus now solely placed on the FA Cup where they meet rivals Manchester United in the semi-finals.