Super Mario to sit it out on Thursday
- Wed 25 Aug 2010, 3:51PM
- Posted by Tim Oscroft
Mario Balotelli won't be able to follow up his eye-catching City debut when the Blues return to the European stage against Timisoara on Thursday.
The Italian striker managed to pack plenty into his 35 minute cameo in Romania last week, taking one scoring chance, going close with another, getting booked and picking up a knee injury.
It's the latter that will keep the 20-year-old out of the second leg, with Roberto Mancini keeping one eye on a busy schedule.
"We will have to see how Mario is over the next two days" the Manager declares. "He has a problem in his knee, not much of one, but he won't be available for Timisoara. It's important that we try to get him ready for the Sunderland game.
"He is settling in well but he needs time. It's not easy to change clubs or meet new team mates but I know he's happy here already."
With the trip to the north-east coming up so soon after the Europa League engagement, Mancini admits he is looking to dig deep into his resources against the Romanians before then.
"We must pay attention, we may have won the first game but it's going to be a difficult match on Thursday. I'll probably make three or four changes, because it's impossible to play with the same players every three or four days."
Left-back is one area that has had to be addressed with Wayne Bridge, Alex Kolarov and even possible cover in the shape of the versatile Jerome Boateng all in the treatment room. Joleon Lescott has stepped into the breach admirably over the last two games, with Roberto adding,
"We're very unlucky with our full backs at the moment! We have three injured at the moment, Jerome will maybe be out for another two weeks, Kolarov could be six or seven and Wayne I hope will only be another two.
Joleon has done well at left back, it's not his normal position but I'm pleased with him. He does not do what Bridge or Kolarov do because they are used to playing there, but he kept his concentration and gave two good performances.
...Boss on Lescott
The club's owner, Sheikh Mansour, watched City for the first time when they swept Liverpool aside on Monday and the Manager was delighted that the team had put on a show for him.
"I spoke with Sheikh Mansour afterwards, and he was very happy with what he had seen! I'm pleased we were able to put on such a good performance for him at his first match here.
"He's happy with the players, and he was also happy for the City supporters. It was a fantastic night for him and everyone. I think he'll come again, I certainly hope so."