Balotelli, forced to watch last week’s
And the Italian forward’s frustration at his limited involvement appeared to come to the surface as he walked off the pitch at the end of the game, the 22 year-old exchanging words with Mancini before being shoved down the tunnel by the City manager.
When asked to explain the incident after the game, Mancini proved evasive, admitting he had “possibly” pushed Balotelli after initially claiming he had no recollection of the clash.
“I don’t know what happened after the game.” Mancini said. “I don’t know if he’s asked me something, but it’s not important. Mario probably thinks it was important. I don’t know. I will ask him next time I see him.”
Mancini had defended Balotelli in the build-up, claiming that his “patience is endless” with the controversial former Inter Milan striker.
And the City manager had dismissed claims that Balotelli had been dropped at
the Bernabeu following an unauthorised night out after the
With Mancini expected to make wholesale changes to his
While Mancini’s frustration with Balotelli was evident through the pair’s post-match contretemps, the manager was equally unhappy with the defensive contribution of his team following Arsenal’s late equaliser.
City, who have won just twice in six games, have not kept a clean sheet this season and Mancini admits their defensive frailties, rather than losing touch with the league’s early pace-setters, is his key concern.
“I am not concerned at being four points behind the leaders,” Mancini said. “I
feel very sorry for players because it was difficult after
“I don’t know why it is happening. In the last four games, we have conceded from three set-pieces.
“We probably dropped two points against Stoke last week also, but we need to work because we want to improve. I am frustrated, but the players are also and that is important.”
Mancini added: “In the first half, Arsenal had another man in the middle, so that’s why I changed Scott Sinclair with Jack Rodwell and we did better, but then we went too deep.
“We didn’t play very well, but in this game we needed to score. We need to improve this and when we get a chance, take it.”
Arsenal manager Arsène Wenger saw his team extend their unbeaten start to the
season following Koscielny’s equaliser. But for some wayward finishing by
Ivorian forward Gervinho, Arsenal could have become the first time to take
all three points from the Etihad since
“It’s a point we deserved and I’m pleased with the quality of our performance and spirit,” Wenger said. “I also think of Gervinho’s chance at the edge of the box, where he missed the target, but I hope the game reinforces our belief and confidence and reassures us of our potential in the league.
“It’s true we missed chances today, but when you have basic quality, you can improve on the rest. Thomas Vermaelen had flu yesterday and we left him at home, but I believe Koscielny had a great game and stepped in very well.
“We have three great centre-halves, it is a very difficult choice for me, and whoever is left out will feel it is not right. Sometimes it will be a choice of which strikers they are up against.”