• Premier League

Balotelli's an enigma - Platt

ESPN staff
October 25, 2011 « Pietersen suffers broken thumb | Chartbeat test »

Manchester City assistant manager David Platt admits striker Mario Balotelli is a mysterious character but has denied the Italian is a difficult player to manage.

Balotelli starred in City's 6-1 drubbing of rivals Manchester United on Sunday, scoring twice as Roberto Mancini's men moved five points clear at the top of the Premier League.

Despite his fine form on the pitch, it is Balotelli's antics off it that have been attracting negative attention. He found his way onto the back pages for all the wrong reasons the day before the Manchester derby when fireworks were let off in his house.

The 21-year-old, who joined City last summer, was back in the spotlight when he revealed a t-shirt which read 'Why always me?' after his opening goal at Old Trafford, before appearing in a campaign to promote firework safety on Monday.

Although Balotelli's behaviour continues to baffle, Platt insists the player is not troublesome and has pinpointed better concentration levels as the main reason behind the forward's encouraging early season displays.

"I think people saw his talent but perhaps they saw it in fleeting moments last season," Platt said. "I don't want to give him any excuses but it is difficult coming to a new country, he is only young and he did have his niggles last year. I think what's happened this season is a consistency in terms of the amount of time he's on the training pitch - those niggles seem to have by-passed him.

"There's a consistency in terms of off-the-pitch stories that went on and certainly a consistency in his performances and his concentration. His behaviour has always been good but it's been his concentration levels where there have been too many ups and downs. But it's been there the last two or three months.

"I've always said I don't think he's a difficult player to manage in that sense. He's not anybody that sulks as such, he can lose concentration but you can snap him out of it and that's why it's been up and down. He's an enigma."

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