Belfast Telegraph

De Jong: Balotelli needs to change

Manchester City midfielder Nigel de Jong fears Mario Balotelli will become a marked man because of his petulant behaviour.

Balotelli, 20, was red carded on Thursday night - his second of his debut season after arriving from Inter Milan in the summer. The Italian striker was banished to the dressing room in the 36th minute by Turkish referee Cuneyt Cakir for a studs-up challenge on Dynamo Kiev defender Goran Popov.

Manager Robert Mancini was incensed by Balotelli's action and de Jong is concerned that some opponents will target his team-mate. De Jong said: "Tomorrow is a new day and I am sure we are going to sit down with Mario. He has got to realise he has to change how he plays because he is always going to be a marked man. He knows that."

He added: "We have to continue with him as well. He has a lot of potential, the skill he shows at times is unbelievable.

"He is a talented boy and maybe you do not intend to let your team down with those sort of things.

"But I told him as well you have got to learn from your mistakes.

"We are there to help him, not to criticise him or blast him away.

"He has experienced guys around him and has to listen to them.

"After the game he was angry and he was disappointed. Sometimes you make mistakes and Mario made his mistake. But he will get everything straight again."


From Belfast Telegraph