Richards downplays Manchester City bust-up

Manchester City defender Micah Richards has downplayed the impact of a training ground disagreement with Mario Balotelli, stating that the two players were fine after a bust-up.

The England and Italy internationals came to loggerheads during Thursday’s City training session, with angry words exchanged between the pair before Richards had to be restrained by team-mates.

Despite the incident not being ideal for squad morale, the right back has moved to diffuse the situation on Twitter.

“Me & Mario are all good! These things happen in training & we shook hands after. It shows passion,” he commented on the social networking site.

The incident is the latest in a long run of controversies surrounding Balotelli, who was recently in hot water after breaking the team curfew to go out and have a curry with friends on the eve of the 2-1 defeat to Chelsea.

Balotelli scored the opener in the loss, and will be in line for a start against Arsenal at the Etihad Stadium this weekend, as City look to get their title bid back on track.

By Gareth McKnight