Balotelli earns Platt praise
David Platt led the praise for Mario Balotelli after a razor-sharp performance in the 4-0 win over Blackburn at Ewood Park. With Carlos Tevez suspended and Edin Dzeko dropped to the bench after the midweek controversy in Munich, the often controversial Balotelli is now being held up as a model of consistency. Balotelli, who was preferred to the Bosnian in City's starting line-up, capped a superb individual performance when he stole in front of Steven Nzonzi to stab home his side's second on the hour. Adam Johnson had given City the lead three minutes earlier, and later goals from Samir Nasri and Stefan Savic heaped more woe on beleaguered Blackburn boss Steve Kean, with a large section of fans calling for his head. In the post-match absence of City boss Roberto Mancini, first-team coach David Plat said: "What Mario has been doing in the last six or seven weeks is [finding] consistency in his training. "Mario has had a lot of column inches in the last 12 months and a lot of it has been negative. All the criticism he has got is fine but now I think he deserves the plaudits as well. "He came on last week and opened the goalscoring up and produced a performance, and also his performance here had a lot more maturity about it. It doesn't surprise me because his concentration levels have been very high." While Platt admits City's most difficult matchday decision is which of their multi-million pound strikers to leave out, Balotelli's re-emergence is timely with Tevez frozen out and Sergio Aguero limping off with a groin strain. Platt said Aguero's injury was not as bad as first thought, although it is expected to keep him out of Argentina's World Cup qualifier against Chile in Buenos Aires next weekend. Balotelli's sharpness was obvious even during a below-par first half in which Mancini's men merely flexed their muscles and Rovers contained them well with Chris Samba in particular outstanding at the back. Balotelli flashed a 37th-minute shot wide then fired into the side-netting before stepping up to a new level after the break, driving a shot against the post within minutes of the restart. Johnson broke the deadlock with a delicious curling effort from the corner of the box in the 56th minute and Balotelli effectively eased City home three minutes later, leading to restlessness among the home fans. The situation got worse for Rovers boss Steve Kean as Nasri swept home City's third in the 74th minute and Savic prodded the fourth three minutes from time after Mauro Formica had forced a rare save out of visiting keeper Joe Hart. Despite large sections of the fans calling for Kean's dismissal, the Scot remained defiant and insists his current squad is more than capable of turning round Rovers' fortunes given more time. Kean said: "There is always going to be a section of the fans that are not happy at any club, but all we can do as a team is stick together and we have done that in much tougher times than this. "The fans should bear with us and we will turn it around. We've got lots of players who are new and it will take a little bit longer with them. Realise what we are trying to do and we will get there. "It is certainly not enjoyable. You would have to have a perverse brain if you were enjoying it. But the owners have backed me since the first day I was here and I expect them to back me until we can get in a more positive vein of form."
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