Balotelli is homesick - Mancini

28 December 2010 07:22
Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini has played down reports that Italian striker Mario Balotelli wants to leave.Balotelli scored a hat-trick as City defeated Aston Villa 4-0 on Tuesday to move top of the Premier League. [LNB]Mancini said: "Maybe he is homesick but I don't think it's a long-term problem. He is 20, has left his family for the first time - it's normal to miss them. [LNB]"It is very important to keep him. He is a very good player and he can improve a lot." [LNB]City easily defeated an out-of-form Villa, with Balotelli scoring two superbly taken penalties as well as a close-range tap-in. [LNB] Great response to the critics from Mario Balotelli - a hat-trick and no histrionics Beware the Moon Lads The Italian played in the lone striker role as Argentine Carlos Tevez was rested - and underlined his qualities with a very good display. [LNB]"I think it is very important for the guys to help Mario. This season is a very important experience for him," added Mancini. [LNB]"If he plays like he did this afternoon he can be one of the top players in Europe." [LNB]City scored twice in the opening 13 minutes as they dominated a Villa side that has now won only two of their last 13 top-flight fixtures. [LNB]The result lifted City to the top of the Premier League table for the first time since Sven-Goran Eriksson was in charge during the 2007-08 season. [LNB]However, Manchester United will regain first place if they avoid defeat against Birmingham when they meet on Tuesday (kick-off 2000 GMT). [LNB]"We are happy but I think we will only be top for three hours," added the City boss. [LNB]"It is important to be there at the end of the season, not now." [LNB]City won 3-1 at Newcastle on Boxing and Mancini made five changes to his team for the match against Villa as he rotates his squad through a busy period that see his team play four games in 11 days. [LNB]"It was important to defeat Villa after our win at Newcastle," he said. "[Making the changes] was a good decision because when you have two games in 48 hours it is very difficult."

Source: BBC_Sport