While the mob have rounded on Mario Balotelli, condemning him for the failures of Manchester City this season, let us not forget that Roberto Mancini knew just what he was letting himself in for.
The former Internazionale striker, sent off in the 1-0 defeat by Arsenal on Sunday that ended City’s title hopes, has rightly been criticised for his part in the disaster of recent weeks, but Mancini’s faith in him is baffling.
He is a disaster waiting to happen at times, and Sunday was a prime example when he was lucky not to see red in the first half for a lunge on Alex Song.
Mancini, who got a perfect view of the challenge and admitted he should be punished retrospectively by the FA, inexplicably kept him on the pitch and that decision, as well as his negative tactics, cost City dear.
It was a game Mancini needed to win, but again he seemed happy to soak up the pressure and didn’t make a positive change until it was too late.
Clearly you cannot defend the inexcusable but there are plenty of City players escaping some serious questions because of Balotelli’s antics against Arsenal.
It goes without saying the Italian’s tackle on Song was a disgrace and he should be punished by the Football Association but at least the eccentric striker was showing some commitment.
Former Manchester United defender Gary Neville claimed Balotelli should be told not to tackle – and maybe he’s right – but did Mancini instruct the rest of his team not to bother putting their bodies on the line as well?
The likes of Sergio Aguero and Samir Nasri were equally disgraceful and City fans should be asking questions about their commitment to the club.
Balotelli was at least tracking back, working for the team and wearing his heart on his sleeve.
Admittedly, he’s an attention seeker and the 21-year-old didn’t play well but most would prefer a player who works hard and cares instead of the others who are content to pick up their wages and went spectacularly went missing when Mancini needed them the most.
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