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'I'll stand by Mario'

Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini will not give up on maverick striker Mario Balotelli. The mercurial forward remains a source of recurring frustration for Mancini but the City boss still wants to coax the best out of him.

Mancini was highly critical of the 21-year-old's overall display in Saturday's clash with Sunderland, despite his two goals in the 3-3 draw at the Etihad Stadium.

Since then there have also been unconfirmed reports of a dressing-room argument with Yaya Toure and speculation City would be willing to consider offers for him in the summer.

But when asked if he was prepared to give up on the former Inter Milan youngster, Mancini said: "No. He is young and I hope for him he can improve very quickly for his future."

Last week was another eventful one in the career of Balotelli.

It began with an unexpected appearance at an Inter Milan press conference, which was followed by a training-ground spat with Mancini. Mancini then said he could not trust the player before the striker had a row with Aleksandar Kolarov over who should take a free-kick against Sunderland.