Balotelli did not even make City’s squad for the high-profile Champions League encounter with Real Madrid on Tuesday. Mancini rejected talk of a bust-up between the pair, insisting it had been a “tactical decision”.
However, he accepts Balotelli would not have been impressed, even if he did hold out the olive branch of a potential place in his side to face Arsenal at the Etihad Stadium today.
“It is difficult to keep Mario happy if he isn't first choice,” said Mancini. “He was upset. This is normal. I don’t think any player who doesn't play in the Bernabeu is happy about it.
“But we have four top players up front. Usually we play with two and the other two are on the bench. However, we have others who can play as second striker like Yaya Toure, David Silva and Samir Nasri.
Three strikers on the bench would be too much so it could be that sometimes a striker goes to the stand. But after Mario went in the stand in Madrid maybe he can play against Arsenal.” — PA Sport