Mancini praises Balotelli and Johnson after Europa win

Kieran Beckles
By Kieran Beckles
roberto mancini
(Photo: Paul Blank)

roberto mancini

Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini praised Mario Balotelli and Adam Johnson’s contributions after his side cantered to a comprehensive 3-0 home victory over Salzburg in the Europa League on Wednesday night.

The result ensures City’s passage into the knock-out stages of the competition with a match to spare.

Balotelli, 20, opened the scoring after 17 minutes when he confidently volleyed past Salzburg goalkeeper Gerhard Tremmel. The former Inter Milan striker then added a second midway through the second half when he finished a sweeping move with a simple tap in.

England international Adam Johnson completed the rout after his mazy run bamboozled his Swiss opponents before he hit a left-footed shot past Tremmel.

The performances of both Balotelli and Johnson came as a personal highlight for Mancini and he paid testament to the pair’s talent after the match.

“They could become among the best players in the world, strong players,” said Mancini. “They need to work hard all the time. They both scored fine goals but they must carry on.”

Mancini deflected questions surrounding Balotelli’s happiness at the club. The Italy international did not celebrate either of his goals but Mancini defended his £24m signing.

“That is just him, it is normal for him as he does it every day in training,” said the City manager. “He came off with a little knock.”

He added: “I think he can improve on that performance. He could run more and take more of his chances. He might have got two or three more goals.”

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