Originally posted on Fox Soccer  |  Last updated 12/21/12
Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini believes striker Mario Balotelli accepted his responsibilities by dropping his challenge to a club fine this week. Balotelli agreed to pay a fine of two weeks' wages for his poor disciplinary record last season when he abandoned an appeal to a Premier League tribunal in midweek. A statement from the club said Balotelli made the decision partly out of respect for Mancini but the manager is pleased the player showed respect for his own reputation. Mancini said: "This is an old situation and it is normal when someone does a mistake he should take his responsibilities and Mario did this. It's normal. "He (should) respect himself, not me, because it's important for him to respect himself, very important." The situation increased speculation the mercurial Balotelli could leave City during next month's transfer window but Mancini remains faithful to the 22-year-old forward. He said: "I am his manager, like other players, and if he deserves to have other chances he will have them." Balotelli will not feature in this weekend's Barclays Premier League clash with Reading at the Etihad Stadium after missing some training sessions this week with a virus. Mancini said: "This weekend Mario, unfortunately, is ill. He came this morning but he can't do anything." Balotelli, signed from Inter Milan for £24million in 2010, missed 11 of City's competitive matches last season through suspension. He failed in an internal appeal against the sanction but exercised his right to take his fight to the Premier League. Wednesday's planned hearing was cancelled after an agreement between the club and his representatives was reached that morning. Mancini has stood by the player in spite of numerous indiscretions on and off the field throughout his time at the club. The Italian this week reached the third anniversary of his appointment at the Etihad Stadium and, having won the FA Cup in 2011 and the Premier League last season, he feels he is ahead of schedule. He said: "I think that we worked really well because when I arrived here three years ago I didn't think that maybe in two years we would win the Premier League, FA Cup. "I thought that maybe four or five years to win the Premier League because it isn't easy." Mancini hopes to have captain Vincent Kompany available to face Reading after the defender missed last week's win at Newcastle with a groin injury. Midfielder James Milner is also close to fitness after a hamstring injury. Forward Samir Nasri has been ruled out with a hamstring problem and full-back Aleksandar Kolarov is also unavailable due to a knee injury. Mancini said: "We can recover James, probably Vinnny but not Samir and Kolarov. "Samir is out but we hope that he can be ready for the bench for Norwich (December 29) and for Stoke (January 1) he will be ready (to start)."
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