Mancini allays Balotelli fears

29 September 2010 05:01
Roberto Mancini has played down fears that Manchester City striker Mario Balotelli faces at least another two months out of action. The 20-year-old striker has only made one substitute appearance for City following his summer switch from Inter Milan but has not played for more than a month because of a knee injury. Balotelli had said he did not expect to return to action until the end of November, but Mancini insisted: "He is in Italy and his knee is okay. I think he may be ready at the end of October, in four to five weeks." Meanwhile, the City boss is set to field an experienced side for Thursday's Europa League encounter with Juventus, adding: "Because we play the Europa League on Thursday nights we have only two days and two nights to recover, but I always put out the strongest team that I can. "It was different in the Carling Cup (against West Brom), but now I can change two or three players. I've got more options. But I always want to put the best team on the pitch. I hope we can do a good job against Juventus and Newcastle. "Juve are a strong team. They have signed a lot of players this year and, like us, are working every day to improve. They have been one of the top clubs in the world for years and it will be a difficult game. "If we win we have six points and it is important that we go through from the group stage. But when you think that you have done the hard work with two wins, then that is when you can make a mistake. "I played against Juve all my life and supported them as a young guy, but it is not a special game for me. I want it to become a habit for us to be playing Italian squads, hopefully in the Champions League next year."

Source: ESA