Belfast Telegraph

Super Mario must move to the next level: Vieira

Patrick Vieira has demanded more from Mario Balotelli despite the youngster's Europa League double against Salzburg.

The Italian, a summer signing from Inter Milan, took his goal tally in his injury-delayed start to his City career to five in a comfortable 3-0 win which ensured City's qualification for the competition's last 32.

But Vieira said: “He's scored so many goals already, he's a goalscorer but he needs to work harder to help the team. But he is a good finisher.”

England winger Adam Johnson rounded off the victory with a fine strike, and said: “I like coming inside on my right foot to try and get shots off, and luckily tonight I got another goal.

“It was tough, in Europe it's slower than the Premier League and that showed tonight, but we got the result we wanted.”

The Europa League, or its former incarnation as the UEFA Cup, is one of few trophies in the game Vieira has not won in his illustrious career and he added: “It would be nice if we can go on and do that.”

Balotelli, who arrived in the summer for £24million, scored either side of half-time with Johnson also finding the target.

City made their intentions clear as early as the third minute when Vieira — one of eight changes to the side — flicked the ball on to Jo only for Franz Schiemer to make a timely challenge.

City should have taken the lead in the 15th minute when Vieira released Balotelli with superb through-ball. He raced on, only for goalkeeper Gerhard Tremmel to boot his effort clear.

Their pressure paid off in the 18th minute thanks to Balotelli, who swept home a fine volley from inside the area following a cross from Pablo Zabaleta.

City should have added a second a minute before half-time following another quick break. Johnson sent James Milner scampering away but he steered his effort the wrong side of the post.

Balotelli scored his second goal from close range following a ball from Vieira after Johnson had won possession. City made it 3-0 following a fine individual effort from Johnson.

He skipped past three dispirited Salzburg players before finding the corner with his shot as City march on.

Belfast Telegraph


From Belfast Telegraph