Belfast Telegraph

Manchester City boss Mancini says Balotelli could be smiles better

Roberto Mancini has called on Mario Balotelli to replace his scowl with a smile.

Even when he has performed at the level anticipated from a player who was this week crowned Tuttosport's ‘Golden Boy', an award previously collected by Lionel Messi, the Manchester City striker rarely looks happy with life.

It is a trait Mancini feels the 20-year-old must get rid of if he is to secure star status amongst the City support.

“You need to smile to play football,” said Mancini. “That is the best thing you can do and Mario must improve in this situation.”

Balotelli clearly has a high opinion of himself.

In dismissing Jack Wilshere as “Jack who” as he assessed the man who finished runner-up in the coveted prize, Balotelli claimed that the only previous winner of the award — a list that includes Rafael van der Vaart, Wayne Rooney and Cesc Fabregas — that is ‘slightly' better than him is Messi.

Mancini does not have a problem with such ultra-high confidence. But he does feel it would be better if Balotelli was matching his words with actions.

“It is good when a player has confidence in himself,” he said.

“Mario Balotelli has everything you need to be one of the best players in the world.

“The Premier League is so different from the Italian league. If he thinks what he says he must show it in every game.”

In fact, such was Balotelli's insignificant contribution to Monday's home defeat by Evertons that it would be no surprise if the Italy forward found himself back on the bench for Sunday's trip to Newcastle.

Mancini will have to find some room given Nigel de Jong is available after serving a one-match ban for picking up five bookings.

Belfast Telegraph

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