Mario Balotelli pleased Roberto Mancini upon his return to the Manchester City line-up
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Manchester City have informed the UEFA matchday delegate of their intention to complain after striker Mario Balotelli said he was subjected to racist abuse during the Europa League win at Porto on Thursday.
Manager Roberto Mancini confessed he did not hear the abuse at the Estadio do Drago, but Balotelli told a club official he heard abusive chanting during the game, which City won 2-1 thanks to a Sergio Aguero winner.
Reports circulated during the match that Balotelli and Yaya Toure were subjected to monkey noises. But when asked about it, Mancini said: ”I didn’t hear this because I was concentrating on the game. I don’t know if [it happened] to Mario and Yaya.”
However, Toure, speaking to Sky Sports News, confirmed he had ”heard something” from the stands.
”That’s why we all like the Premier League, because it never happens there,” Toure said. ”Maybe in foreign countries they don’t expect black players. I think in future it will be okay, they will change their minds and the game will become more open.
”Football is football and the fans come to enjoy the game, and we don’t want things like this to happen. Mario is now able to control things like this and that is very important for the club.”
Mancini hailed his ”fantastic” players after they came from behind to take the advantage after the first leg of the last-32 tie. Aguero came off the bench to score six minutes from time after an Alvaro Pereira own goal had cancelled out a Silvestre Varela strike.
Mancini said: ”I think it was a good result because it is difficult to win here. I think we won this game because we played very well and didn’t give more chances to score to them. I think the guys were fantastic.”
Mancini was pleased with the performance of Balotelli, who had been playing his first game since serving a four-match domestic suspension for stamping on Tottenham’s Scott Parker. The City boss had spoken before the game of the importance of Balotelli remaining focused on the game ahead of a crucial period for the team.
He said: ”I think Mario did very well, he played very well. He was calm and it is important he continues like this. I think this [provocation] can happen every game.
”For this reason I spoke with Mario before the game. I said, ‘Mario think and play, think what you should do during the game. Forget other things.’ I think only this is important.”
Toure also had an influential role on his City return after missing eight games due to the African Nations Cup.
Mancini said: ”I think Yaya is an important player for us but Yaya can’t win alone. He needs all the other players. I think this evening all the team played well because, if not, it is impossible to win here.
”I don’t know how many Porto have lost on this pitch. I think if you win here you should play well with all the team. If not, it is impossible.”