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Monday, September 24, 2012
Mancini to speak with Mario after 'shove'

ESPN staff

Roberto Mancini has admitted he "possibly" pushed striker Mario Balotelli after the final whistle of Manchester City's 1-1 draw with Arsenal on Sunday.

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Premier League champions City were denied all three points against Arsenal after Laurent Koscielny cancelled out Joleon Lescott's opening goal.

Having left Balotelli out of his squad for the 3-2 Champions League loss to Real Madrid during midweek, Mancini introduced the striker in the 85th minute versus the Gunners.

It is reported in a number of newspapers that the Italy international confronted his manager post the final whistle, while it is further suggested Mancini shoved his player down the tunnel towards the changing rooms.

"I don't know what happened after the game," Mancini is quoted as saying in the Telegraph, after admitting he had "possibly" pushed Balotelli.

"I don't know if he's asked me something, but it's not important. Mario probably thinks it was important. I don't know. I will ask him next time I see him."

Mancini went on to play down concerns over an unconvincing start to the season from City, with the club having conceded seven goals in their opening five matches.

"I am not concerned at being four points behind the leaders," Mancini said. "I feel very sorry for players because it was difficult after Real Madrid, but we conceded a goal [from a corner] and we need to improve and we need to work.

"I don't know why it is happening. In the last four games, we have conceded from three set-pieces.

"We probably dropped two points against Stoke last week also, but we need to work because we want to improve. I am frustrated, but the players are also and that is important."

Mancini added: "In the first half, Arsenal had another man in the middle, so that's why I changed Scott Sinclair with Jack Rodwell and we did better, but then we went too deep.

"We didn't play very well, but in this game we needed to score. We need to improve this and when we get a chance, take it."

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