The soccer gods have been known for helping those that help themselves. Roberto Mancini and Kenny Dalglish agree that Mario Balotelli's antics only bring him scrutiny, but disagree about his dismissal from Sunday's draw between Liverpool and Manchester City.
Balotelli was sent off in the 83rd minute when he clumsily fouled Martin Skrtel after he was previously cautioned in the 76th minute for a cynical foul on Glen Johnson. Lucas misplayed a header toward Balotelli and Skrtel. Liverpool's Slovakian defender jumped for a header and the Italian forward crashed into him (without jumping), connecting with his forearm and elbow.
Mancini was adamant that Balotelli's reputation, Skrtel's theatrics and the reactions of Liverpool players played a role in convincing referee Martin Atkinson to dismiss his player. The City manager defended the 21-year-old to whom he serves as both a manager and father figure.
"Sometimes he doesn't help himself and others, then maybe he doesn't get the leeway," Mancini said. "But I don't think any of our boys influenced the referee in any way, shape or form.
"The referee didn't want to get the yellow card. Every time Mario did something, many players are walking towards the referee –- I think Skrtel made a lot of the challenge.
"I have no problems with Mario, he should not have been sent off. Afterwards, he was disappointed for the card and he was angry with himself. If he damaged the door, he'll pay -– like his house! Nothing else will happen to him."
Dalglish dismissed Mancini's allegation and points the blame squarely at Balotelli. The Liverpool manager thinks the budding star should have been mindful enough to pull out of a needless challenge.
"The reaction of our players? I think Balotelli got himself sent off," he said. "His actions spoke more loudly than anyone else's. Sometimes you look in the mirror and get the answer.
"Sometimes he doesn't help himself, other times maybe he doesn't get as much leeway as some others do — but if you help yourself you don't get in that situation in the first place."
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