24 Sep 2012

Mancini and Balotelli in altercation

4:00 pm on 24 September 2012

Manager Roberto Mancini played down talk of another altercation with his volatile Italian forward Mario Balotelli as Manchester City's frustrating start to their Premier League football title defence continued with a 1-1 home draw against Arsenal.

After the final whistle, Balotelli was pushed down the tunnel by City manager Mancini after shouting in his direction as he left the field - presumably discussing why he'd played just the final six minutes of the game.

However Italian Mancini told reporters that he didn't know what happened and didn't know if Balotelli had asked him anything.

Mancini dealt with similar claims of a rift last week in which a report suggested he was unhappy with his star player's habit of smoking.

The City manager was also said to be unimpressed by allegations Balotelli had been spotted on a night out last Sunday, 48 hours before the Champions League defeat at Real Madrid - a game for which the striker did not even manage a place on the reserves bench.

The manner in which Balotelli responds will be keenly watched although Mancini insisted before the weekend that "my patience is endless" when it comes to dealing with the temperamental forward.