Roberto Mancini leaps to Mario Balotelli’s defence after red card
Manchester City manager adamant Italy striker did not deserve to see red for a second bookable offence during 1-1 draw at Anfield
Roberto Mancini insisted Mario Balotelli did not deserve to be shown a second yellow card during Manchester City’s 1-1 draw with Liverpool at Anfield.
The Italy international, who was a second-half substitute on Merseyside, was given his marching orders 18 minutes after coming on following a collision with Liverpool defender Martin Skrtel.
Referee Martin Atkinson gave Balotelli a second booking after the striker was earlier shown a yellow for pulling back Glen Johnson.
“It is not correct, the [second] yellow card,” said Mancini. “I do not agree with this yellow card. The referee didn’t want to get a yellow card out, he did nothing for the yellow card.
“I think every time Mario does something many players provoke him. The referee gave a free-kick but didn’t want to give a yellow card until all the Liverpool players complained.
“I watched the replay and, for me, it is nothing. This situation in the Premier League – there are a lot in every game. I don’t think all are yellow cards.
“He moved his arm and Skrtel was like a young player and I don’t think that was good. Mario should pay attention because he knows many players provoke him and this is not correct.
“Because of his red card we conceded a few chances from Liverpool.”
Reds boss Kenny Dalgish, whose side earned a draw after Joleon Lescott’s first-half own-goal cancelled out Vincent Kompany’s opener, had no sympathy for the Manchester City striker.
“I think Balotelli got himself sent off,” he said. “His actions spoke louder than anybody else’s didn’t they? Sometimes if you look in the mirror you get the answer.
“Sometimes he doesn’t help himself, other times he doesn’t get as much leeway as anyone else gets. But if you help yourself you don’t get in that situation in the first place.”