Roberto Mancini is threatening to axe Mario Balotelli for Manchester City's Premier League encounter with Chelsea at Stamford Bridge on Sunday.
Mancini was fuming with Dynamo Kiev's time-wasting tactics as City crashed out of the Europa League on Thursday night, but that fury was matched with the anger Mancini reserved for Balotelli, who was sent off after 36 minutes for a ridiculous challenge on Goran Popov.
"I don't think he will be in the squad," said the Italian as he looked ahead to Sunday's game against Chelsea. "I didn't see the foul properly but I am very disappointed because in a game like this it is very difficult if you pick up a red card, and you can pick up a red card for doing something stupid,"
Right in front of both the referee and his assistant, Balotelli put his studs into the chest of the Dynamo defender, then shoved them into his thigh for good measure.
Mancini added: "The problem for Mario is that he thinks he could be a fantastic player. But when he does something stupid like that, it is difficult for me, difficult for him and difficult for the team."
Although Balotelli's suspension will not kick in until next year, Mancini must wonder how long he can maintain any trust in the 20-year-old, who for all his exceptional ability, at times is an acute liability.
Not that Balotelli was the only subject for Mancini to grumble about. The City boss was incensed by Dynamo's time-wasting tactics.
"Every time they dived and every time the referee saw it," he groaned. "But that is what happens. That is it."
Mancini's complaints were met with a sharp rebuttal from Dynamo coach Yuri Semin.
"It is part of football," he shrugged. "There were some quite serious clashes. It was a tough game out there. That is why the referee gave quite a few yellow cards."
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