Roberto Mancini sidesteps row with Manchester City striker Mario Balotelli

Mario Balotelli heads down the tunnel after being substituted in the win over Sunderland

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Roberto Mancini refused to criticise Mario Balotelli after the Manchester City striker's latest show of petulance.

Balotelli walked straight down the tunnel when he was replaced by Sergio Aguero during the second half of City's 3-0 win over Sunderland on Saturday.

And reports in Sunday's newspapers suggested the Italy international had risked another row with his manager by booking a flight home within hours of his substitution.

But Mancini would not be drawn into an argument in the aftermath of the game, saying: "Mario worked a lot and he had a chance. I am happy with Mario, he played a good game."

It was left to the manager's assistant David Platt to give a more forthright appraisal of Balotelli's behaviour.

Platt said: "I don't know why he walked down the tunnel. He wasn't injured. Should he have walked straight down the tunnel? No."