London: Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini has pledged to give Mario Balotelli "100 more chances" to change his ways after playing down his latest confrontation with the controversial striker.
Mancini was on Thursday photographed grappling with Balotelli in a training ground bust-up. Explaining the confrontation for the first time, Mancini admitted he lost his temper for "two or three seconds" after Balotelli fouled a teammate, and then refused to leave the pitch as his manager demanded.
The clash is one of a number of controversies to have involved 22-year-old Balotelli since he joined the club in 2010, but Mancini denied this latest incident was a final straw.
"No, I don't change my thoughts for this," said Mancini. "I will give him another 100 chances if possible, if I think he can change. I am here for this. Sometimes I am upset with him because he doesn't everything (I ask), but I give him another chance, sure. He is 22 and he can do a mistake."
When asked if Balotelli would face any disciplinary action, Mancini said: "No, no. This doesn't change my thoughts. This is something that can happen.
"Usually it is between two players. It is different because I wanted him to leave the pitch after what he did."
Mancini, speaking at a pre-ss conference to preview this weekend's FA Cup third-round clash with Watford, added: "I think the photos show the worst of what happened. It was nothing special. There was no fight, this was not true."
The incident occurred after a bad tackle by Balotelli on Scott Sinclair during a training match.
Mancini said: "We were playing a game and Mario kicked his teammate. I said to him, 'Go inside, leave the pitch'. He said no and I took his shirt and pushed him out of the pitch. This is what really happened, nothing special."
When asked if he lost his temper, Mancini said: "No, no. For two seconds, yes ' during three or four seconds because he didn't want to leave the pit-ch. He can't do this against no one, but then it was finis-hed."
If a manager grappling wi-th his player in training is embarrassing enough, so is the fact it was allowed to be photographed. Alex Ferguson has stressed that being able to train in privacy is vital.
He said: "You're protecting the possibility of your success. Do ICI send an email to Bayer chemicals telling them about their new discoveries in drugs or whatever?
"Do the major companies tell their opponents what they're doing? I'm sure they don't."