City boss Roberto Mancini was happy with the manner of his team’s 3-0 victory over Aston Villa and praised Mario Balotelli’s performance.
With Balotelli starting as a lone striker against Villa, Mancini admitted it was a gamble that paid off with the former Inter Milan star netting the Blues’ second and leading the line with aplomb before being replaced after an hour.
“This performance was very important for us,” said Mancini. “I needed to rest one or two players and I thought it was a risk to play Mario alone up front, but he played very well and scored a fantastic goal.”
Asked if he was surprised his opposite number rested eight first-team players, Mancini said: “I wasn’t surprised by Aston Villa’s starting eleven because Gerard Houllier has a lot of experience and he knows it isn’t easy to play with the same players every few days.
He changed seven or eight players, but I don’t have that many players available to change at this time – if I had, I would have done the same
City’s reward is a quarter-final with Championship side Reading, but Mancini is not thinking that far ahead.
“Now we need to concentrate on Wigan in the League and then Dynamo Kyiv in the Europa League,” he said. “It’s more important we focus on our next two games before we think about playing Reading.
“I hope to have Vincent Kompany and Nigel de Jong back for the weekend and it was good that Edin Dzeko had a rest and Carlos only played for 30 minutes. It was a good night for us.”