Vieira defends Balotelli
Patrick Vieira insists that enigmatic Mario Balotelli is in fact 'a charmer' and not a troublemaker.
Last Updated: 20/04/11 9:17am
Manchester City veteran Patrick Vieira insists that enigmatic starlet Mario Balotelli is in fact 'a charmer' and not a troublemaker.
The Italian youngster's over-zealous celebrations sparked a post-match melee following City's 1-0 FA Cup success over Manchester United on Saturday at Wembley.
The game was one of Balotelli's best for the club even though he did not score, however, he angered the likes of Rio Ferdinand and Anderson following the full-time whistle.
Vieira, who mentored Balotelli during their time together with Inter Milan, does not believe the 20-year-old was behaving provocatively - stating he just got carried away with the occasion.
"That's part of his personality, that's Balotelli's charm," said Vieira. "I don't think it was a case of provocation, I just think he got carried away.
"There was more pressure on City's shoulders than United's. As a club and as a team, United are more used to controlling these types of games.
"For us, it was pure joy because the club has been waiting for this for so long. And with all the press expecting United to win easily, it was a big relief.
"There was some over-excitement, but I think United's players got carried away as well."