ROBERTO MANCINI HAS given a stark warning to Mario Balotelli after the Italian’s abysmal against Manchester United at the Etihad Stadium on Sunday.
The 22-year-old started the game ahead of former United favourite Carlos Tevez, but cut a disenchanted figure before being replaced by the Argentinian early in the second half.
Balotelli, predictably, stormed down the tunnel after being taken off while his City team-mates put together a far more cohesive performance in his absence, coming back from 2-0 down to almost draw the game.
However, Robin van Persie’s late free-kick won all three points for Alex Ferguson’s men.
Mancini said: “I love Mario as a guy and a player but it is important for him to start to think about his job. He has everything to play well but he can’t continue to play like today.”
The City manager told the cautionary tale of a former player who wasted his talent, stressing that he didn’t want to see the same thing happen to Balotelli.
Mancini added: “We want more from Mario because he has everything. He has top quality.
“When you have a player of this quality you can’t understand that he could continue to throw this out of the window. This is incredible. I saw a player like this in my life with fantastic quality but in the end they did nothing. I don’t want Mario to finish like this player because it’s not good for him.
“I wanted to see if Mario did well at the start of the second half but after the five minutes he played I saw that he was playing like in the first half.”
Despite all of that, Mancini defended his decision to play the former Inter Milan striker.
“It is easy to say after the game. I thought Mario could create problems for them. He is young and runs quickly – when you decide before the game this is what you think.”