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Page last updated at 22:20 GMT, Thursday, 19 August 2010 23:20 UK

Roberto Mancini hails Mario Balotelli after debut goal

Mario Balotelli
Balotelli came on as a substitute for Gareth Barry

Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini saluted new striker Mario Balotelli after the Italian secured a first-leg Europa League advantage for his side.

The 20-year-old came off the bench to net the only goal in the 1-0 play-off victory over Timisoara in Romania.

"He had a great debut. I am happy he scored. He's a good player," said Mancini after the win.

"He needs to improve of course and get to know everybody. It was the first time he had played with the team."

Balotelli joined City from Inter Milan earlier this month for a fee thought to be about £24m.

Mancini, however, said that Balotelli needed to learn to keep his temper in check following a late booking.

Inky Gibson

"We must work on this with him because it will be different in the Premier League than in Italy," added the City coach.

Mancini played down a late knock sustained by Balotelli, saying that he expected the Italian to be available to face Liverpool in the Premier League at home on Monday.

"We do not think it is serious. It was probably just a kick, it is not a problem," he said.

"It was a difficult game for us because Timisoara are a good team and they played very well in the first half.

"In the end, it is a good result for us. But they made it difficult for us by getting so many players behind the ball.

"All the players played well, especially in the second half and we moved the ball quickly. When [Adam] Johnson came on, he also did well.

"I think we deserved to score another goal because we had three or four good chances."

Mancini stressed that the tie was not over and there was still work to be done at Eastlands.

"Football is strange," said Mancini. "When you think you can win easy, you must have maximum concentration."

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see also
FC Timisoara 0-1 Man City
19 Aug 10 |  Europe
Europa League as it happened
19 Aug 10 |  Europe
Man City complete Balotelli deal
13 Aug 10 |  Man City

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