Mancini expects Balotelli stay
Man City, Updated:
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Manchester City boss Roberto Mancini insists Mario Balotelli will not be sold in the January transfer window, despite the speculation.
Mancini dropped the Italian striker earlier in the season due to his attitude in training and after a series of well documented incidents during his stay at the Etihad Stadium it was speculated Balotelli could be sold in January.
The 22-year-old had seemingly slipped down the pecking order at City, behind Edin Dzeko, Carlos Tevez and Sergio Aguero, but was handed a rare start at Wigan on Wednesday.
The Italy international repaid Mancini's faith with the first goal in City's 2-0 win at the DW Stadium.
Balotelli's former side Inter Milan and Italian giants AC Milan have both been credited with an interest in bringing the forward back to Serie A, but Mancini is adamant the striker will not be sold in the January transfer window.
"No it's not true. It's his first goal this season and I hope he can improve after this game," Mancini told reporters.
"We have four top strikers but we've had some difficulty scoring goals like we did last season. I hope we can move on from this."
The victory over Wigan ensured City kept the pace with league-leaders Manchester United, who saw off West Ham on Wednesday evening.
Chelsea dropped points as they were held by Fulham but Mancini is well aware there will be plenty of twists and turns as the season progresses and expects a fierce battle for the Premier League title, although he indicated that he believes his side's Champions League exit could benefit them in their bid to secure a second successive league crown.
He added: "The season is very long, and if a lot of teams are playing in the Champions League in February it can change everything.
"We are at the top with United at the moment but I think Chelsea can fight for the title as well."