Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini plays down his latest confrontation with Mario Balotelli and insists that he will not be selling the controversial striker following the training ground row.
Mancini was photographed grappling with his fellow Italian in a training ground bust-up on Monday but the City boss insists the matter was not serious.
Speaking at a press conference to preview this weekend’s FA Cup third-round clash with Watford, Mancini said: “I think the photos show the worst of what happened.
“It was nothing special. There was no fight, this was not true.”
He explained that he wanted Balotelli to leave the pitch after a tackle on another player that he would “prefer to see in a game and not against a team-mate.
“I asked him to leave the pitch – he said no so I moved him off. That’s all that happened and it was nothing more than that,” he said.
He admitted that he had not spoken to Balotelli since the incident, but added that he would not be taking action against him or selling him.
These things happen from time to time Roberto Mancini
“Nothing has changed between Mario and me and my thoughts have not changed about him and these things happen from time to time.
Balotelli joined Manchester City in 2010 and has scored 30 goals in 75 appearances for the club.
But this season he has made fewer appearances for the club, netting only one league goal, compared with fellow strikers Edin Dzeko, Sergio Aguero and Carlos Tevez, who have scored 24 between them in the league.
Balotelli has a reputation for being eccentric and sometimes volatile, with his former manager at Inter Milan Jose Mourinho once describing him as “unmanageable”.
Since joining Manchester City he has made the headlines for a series of bizarre incidents including setting his house on fire after shooting fireworks from the window.
But these mishaps have endeared him to many City fans and he has gained a cult following at the City of Manchester Stadium.