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Mario Balotelli apologises to Man City over sending off

Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini and striker Mario Balotelli
Balotelli's dismissal annoyed City manager Mancini

Manchester City's Mario Balotelli has apologised to his team-mates for the challenge that got him sent off in the Europa League tie against Dynamo Kiev.

The striker saw red after a recklessly high challenge on Goran Popov, as City won 1-0 but lost 2-1 on aggregate.

"I am very sorry to my team-mates in particular that I got sent off so early in such an important game," he said.

City indicated the player was going to dropped for Sunday's game with Chelsea, but now say he will be available

Balotelli, who was also sent off against West Bromwich Albion in November, was shown a straight red at Eastlands by referee Cuneyt Cakir after he appeared to thrust his boot into the body of Popov.

The Italian international insists he did not intend to injure the Kiev defender.

"I was trying my best for the team as I always do," he said.

"The ball was in the air and I went for it with my foot high.

"I never tried to make contact with Popov and I certainly didn't want to hurt him. In retrospect, however, the tackle was poor.

"I should have showed more consideration but I was so involved in the game.

Referee Vladimir Sajn sends off Manchester City's Mario Balotelli (right)
Balotelli's debut season in England as been fraught by controversy

"It was not a good way to repay the manager who has shown so much faith in me or the owners and fans who have made me so welcome since I arrived from Italy.

"I hope they forgive me and see that I want success with Manchester City."

Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini appeared to be livid with Balotelli after the dismissal and had earlier indicated that he was to miss the Premier League clash at Stamford Bridge.

"I don't know if it was a red card or a yellow card, but when you play a game like this you should pay attention.

"Mario thinks he could be a fantastic player. When he does something stupid like that, it's difficult for me," Mancini said.

"I didn't see the foul properly but I am very disappointed because in a game like this it is very difficult if you pick up a red card, and you can pick up a red card for doing something stupid," he added.

City midfielder Nigel de Jong said his controversial young team-mate needs to change his mentality.

"He is a young boy of 20 and he has to learn from his mistakes," said the Dutch international. "I told him. Everyone told him. He is still part of the squad and has a lot of potential. He is a very good player but has to realise, on a professional level, you sometimes have to change your mentality."

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see also
Man City 1-0 D Kiev (agg 1-2)
17 Mar 11 |  Europe
Dynamo Kiev 2-0 Man City
10 Mar 11 |  Europe
Man City rocked by Balotelli blow
11 Jan 11 |  Man City
Balotelli is homesick - Mancini
28 Dec 10 |  Man City
Mancini warns boastful Balotelli
23 Dec 10 |  Man City
Mancini defends Balotelli's reputation
17 Aug 10 |  Man City
Man City complete Balotelli deal
13 Aug 10 |  Man City

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