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Mancini: Mario must heed warning

MANCHESTER CITY boss Roberto Mancini has urged striker Mario Balotelli to take heed of Italy coach Cesare Prandelli's warning.

Balotelli was left out of the squad for Italy's international friendly defeat by the United States this week with Prandelli publicly citing the player's indiscipline as a reason.

Mancini has already asked his maverick forward to focus fully on his game for the closing months of the campaign and he hopes Prandelli's remarks reinforce the message. He said: "I think it is correct. We know that Mario is a top player but he should improve his behaviour. For the national team it is important."

He added: "When you go to play in the European Championship and you only play three or five games, you should have good behaviour."

Balotelli impressed as he scored the opening goal and produced a disciplined performance in the Barclays Premier League leaders' 3-0 win over Blackburn last weekend.

It is such displays that leave Mancini in no doubt about Balotelli's ability.

Mancini said: "Mario is the best Italian striker, for sure - 100%."

The 21-year-old has been sent off twice for City this season and missed eight games through suspension, although three of them were a European ban hanging over from last year.