Premier League

Mancini: I'd have punched Mario every day

Roberto Mancini remains determined to get the best out of Mario Balotelli
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MANCHESTER (AP)

Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini confessed he would have punched Mario Balotelli every day if he had been a teammate of the hothead striker.

PAST ENCOUNTERS

FOX Soccer delves into the archives and picks out some of the best images from previous matches between Arsenal and Manchester City. Click here to view the gallery.

Balotelli has tested Mancini's patience throughout the season with a series of unwise incidents on and off the field, ranging from hosting an indoor firework display to training ground brawls.

The 21-year-old walked away unharmed from a car wreck in the center of Manchester on Thursday, an incident for which the club said he was not at fault.

Yet Balotelli's behavior has been blamed as a reason for City's recent struggles on the field, with him openly arguing with teammates in games.

Mancini said he still believes he can help coax his fellow Italian into becoming a world-class player but recognized that he would have adopted a more direct approach if he had worked with him during his own playing days.

"I told him, 'If you played with me, 10 years ago, I give to you every day one punch in your head!'" Mancini said. "I think his problem is his concentration, but I work with him every day. I speak with him - not every day, because if not I need a psychologist - but every two days I speak with him."

Mancini added, "He doesn't lose his quality. Mario, as a player, can be one of the top in Europe. I don't want him to lose his talent."

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