Manchester City boss Roberto Mancini has strongly rebuffed claims that he had a bust up with Mario Balotelli after the striker was left out of Manchester City’s squad for their Champions League tie with Real Madrid.
Balotelli watched on from the stands as City lost 3-2 at the Bernabeu, with reports suggesting the player and manager had clashed before kick-off.
But Mancini says he wanted to play with just one striker and did not want any more than two strikers on the bench with Sergio Aguero and Edin Dzeko favoured in front of Balotelli and Carlos Tevez starting.
The City manager was responding to questions following a newspaper report in Britain that suggested the striker was dropped because of a late night-out following the Blues’ draw with Stoke City last weekend.
Mancini said that Balotelli, who is of Ghanaian descent, was just like any other squad player at the Etihad Stadium and would have to accept being dropped from time to time.
“This story is totally false,” said the City chief.
“Mario went in the stand only because we started to play with Carlos Tevez in attack and we couldn’t have three strikers on the bench.
“There has been no argument, and no row. Absolutely not.
“Mario is a player like other players. When he is on the bench sometimes they don’t understand.”