Pizza didn't cause Balotelli's illness
Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini rubbished suggestions star striker Mario Balotelli became ill after eating at a pizzeria in Naples with his girlfriend on the eve of Tuesday night's 2-1 Champions League defeat to Napoli.
The maverick Italian forward was sick on the field at San Paolo Stadium and looked off the pace, despite scoring what was a mere consolation for City.
Two goals from Edinson Cavani condemned City to a defeat that leaves their Champions League hopes hanging by a thread, but Mancini had no concerns over Balotelli.
"He was sick but he didn't have many problems. He has a small fever, it was nothing serious," he said.
"He had my permission to see his girlfriend for half an hour -- it was only to say hello to his girlfriend in a pizzeria. He did not have a pizza."
Mancini would not give up hope of his side qualifying for the knockout stages of the competition, even though it no longer has progress in its own hands.
City now have to hope Napoli slips against pointless Villarreal on Matchday Six, while the Premier League leaders also need to defeat Bayern Munich at Etihad Stadium.
"We have another game and Villarreal can beat Napoli," Mancini said. "Everything is not finished -- never say never."