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I could punch Balotelli sometimes jokes Mancini

Manchester City boss Roberto Mancini has jokingly claimed he could punch Mario Balotelli for his continued refusal to celebrate goals.

Although Balotelli did manage a couple of smiles as he scored a hat-trick in City's 4-0 win over Aston Villa at Eastlands yesterday, an actual goal celebration was once again not forthcoming.

Balotelli tried to explain afterwards that it was purely down to the fact that he views finding the net as a routine part of his job.

But as someone who did the same job not all that long ago, it is a response Mancini simply cannot understand.

"I would like to punch him sometimes," Mancini said.

"When you score three goals in the Premier League you should celebrate.

"After the first goal he did celebrate, for one second I think.

"At least he smiled."


The muted reaction has done nothing to dampen a feeling that Balotelli is unhappy in Manchester.

Even Mancini accepts the 20-year-old might be homesick, although he does not feel there is anything unusual in that.

"It could be that he is homesick," Mancini said. "But I don't think it is a long-term problem. He is 20.

"It is the first time he has left his family. It is normal for him to miss them."

And Mancini pointed to the reaction of the Blues fans to Balotelli's contribution to a victory that was achieved without rested skipper Carlos Tevez.

Mancini added: "Our supporters love Mario.

"Mario must understand this because it is important for a player.

"Every day I fight against him, but he is young. He was with me at 17 years old, so I know him very well."

Balotelli himself indicated he still sees his short-term future at Eastlands and intends to play a major role in guiding the Blues towards the title, knowing they edged two points nearer their goal following Manchester United's surprise draw at Birmingham.

"I am very happy even if the journalists in Italy say I want to go to Milan," he said.

"I am here and I am working hard in training. I want to be an important man for this team and you can see the results on the pitch.

"We can win this championship.

"In the new year I feel we can be even better."