Balotelli to return with better behaviour

MANCHESTER - Manchester City striker Mario Balotelli has promised to change his temperamental behaviour and will return to the squad this weekend after being dropped, his manager Roberto Mancini said on Friday.

Balotelli has tested the patience of his boss in his first season at the club, picking up two red cards including one against Dynamo Kiev which played a major part in the side's exit from the Europa League last month.

He was subsequently left out of the City squad as well as the Italy squad for the Euro 2012 qualifier against Slovenia and friendly with Ukraine.

"All the strikers will be available," Mancini told a news conference when asked whether the 20-year-old Balotelli would feature in Sunday's Premier League match at home to Sunderland.

"I hope that after Dynamo Kiev his behaviour will be good. I think he wants to show he can change his behaviour in the last two months because he lost also the national team for two games. It's not a good thing for a young player like Mario."

City are without three of their main defenders for Sunday's game with Micah Richards sidelined with a hamstring problem, Jerome Boateng out with a knee injury and Kolo Toure provisionally suspended after a failed drug test.


Richards may be back sooner than the initial prediction that he would be out for up to six weeks with Mancini suggesting he could be fit for the FA Cup semi-final against Manchester United on April 16.

But Boateng might only make it back towards the end of the season after an assessment on the injury he picked up during training with Germany showed he needed an operation.

"He will have surgery in the next two or three days," said Mancini. City's main aim is to finish in the top four this season to qualify for the Champions League and they could be helped by a better attitude from Balotelli, who according to Mancini could be one of the best players in Europe if his behaviour changed.

The manager said he had spoken to Balotelli privately and had been assured that his conduct would improve.

"I think his behaviour for the future will be good," said the Italian, whose team are fourth in the table with 53 points, trailing leaders Manchester United by 10 points.

He added that some of Balotelli's antics, which are not restricted to on the pitch, were exaggerated by the media.

"If Mario goes into a restaurant and speaks with a woman, (they write that) there are five women," he said.