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United v City: Balotelli on being happy

Mario Villa shot

Mario Villa shot

Mario Balotelli is putting his trust in mentor Roberto Mancini for the rest of the season as well as Sunday's derby.

The in-form Italian striker credits City's manager, who brought him through at Inter Milan, as he heads for Old Trafford having scored in his last four games.

And while he rates the competition for places among the fiercest in Europe, he is confident that Mancini will keep faith in him as the chase for glory develops.

Balotelli said: "I'm happy, I train good and I feel good, and that's how it should be always. I'm getting better all the time. It's four in four, and I hope that it will be five in five.

"It's not impressive to me, because I knew already and Mancini knew how I used to play. Last year I couldn't play at my top form because of my injury.

"But the real Mario is coming now, and it isn't the same Mario as last year. Even then, I think I did OK before my injury. But this year it's going to be better, I hope. It has to be better.

"With Mancini I feel very comfortable. I've known him a long time and he's a good manager.


He believes in me - even when no-one in England believed in me, he did


"And he kept on believing in me. I want to do something important here with him."

He is confident his team-mates will keep up the fine start: ""We could be the best in Europe. We have a lot of good players. Barcelona have a lot of great strikers - Messi is at another level.

"We have many players who are at the same level, some are a little bit more or a little bit less. There are not many teams like this.

"It means whoever plays, we will score and play good. It doesn't matter who plays, we can win. If it happens to me (rotation), it's normal. We are in a team where everyone can be changed."

Mario, who no longer lives in the city centre, added: "I'm outside now so it's quieter. I try to stay at home more.

"I'll stay in now with my family, my brother or girlfriend. They weren't here last year. Maybe now I miss home a bit less. Everything is getting better - the only problem in England is the weather!"

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