Roberto Mancini has hinted he may be willing to let Mario Balotelli play for Manchester City again this season despite earlier insisting that the Italian forward’s campaign was over.
Balotelli was handed a three match ban for his sending off against Arsenal, a game which left City eight points behind United and seemingly put paid to their title hopes for the season.
After seeing his side lose 1-0 to Arsenal, an angry Mancini insisted that Balotelli was done for the season.
However the former Inter Milan striker is back in contention for a place this weekend with City’s prospects looking noticeably brighter as just three points separate Mancini’s side from their cross-city rivals.
Mancini appeared willing to contemplate the idea of re-calling Balotelli for their upcoming winner-takes-all battle against Manchester United on Monday.
"It's difficult to say if I will recall Balotelli but everyone is available and I will make my choice on Sunday,” he told reporters.
"Despite some stupid things he has done, Mario has done some important things, like his double strike at Old Trafford this season.
"It's like a family when a child does stupid things. With him anything anything is possible."
Despite Balotelli’s part in City falling behind United to the tune of eight points, Mancini maintains that he holds no grudges against the temperamental striker, saying that he has great ‘affection’ for his player.
"The affection of the parents is still there.,” Mancini commented. “He's young and he commits big mistakes that can put the team in difficulty, but I still think he has great talent and I hope he will be a City player next season. It's all in his hands."