Roberto Mancini has no intention of selling Mario Balotteli and the striker won’t be facing disciplinary action over their training ground bust-up.
The Manchester City manager spoke to the media about the incident ahead of the club’s FA Cup third-round tie with Watford.
Top of the agenda was the training-ground altercation with the striker which went viral after it was caught on camera.
Mancini said the still pictures showed ‘the worst’ of the spat with Balotelli and played down the incident, insisting it wasn’t a fight, although he did admit he briefly lost his temper.
“I think the photos show the worst of what happened,” He said, “It was nothing special. There was no fight, this was not true.
“We were playing a game and Mario kicked his team-mate. 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 pitch.
“He can’t do this against no one, but then it was finished.”
Mancini, who has given the striker numerous chances to redeem himself despite a series of incidents, clearly still has plenty of patience and doesn’t want him out.
He said: “No, I don’t change my thoughts for this. I will give him another 100 chances if possible, if I think he can change. I am here for this. 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 has more often than not backed his fellow Italian despite a series of high-profile incidents – on and off the pitch – since the striker’s 2010 arrival from Inter.
The manager did question Balotelli’s future after a sending-off at Arsenal last season, but he was back in the fold by May and set up the Sergio Aguero goal which secured City’s first league title since 1968.
Balotelli recently agreed to drop his fight against a club fine for his poor disciplinary record last season, striking a deal on the eve of a tribunal hearing.