By John Richardson

MANCHESTER UNITED legend Bryan Robson believes wayward talents Mario Balotelli and Carlos Tevez will cost Manchester City the title, even though they cut his former club’s lead to two points with yesterday’s 6-1 win at Norwich.


Robson has seen United manager Sir Alex Ferguson work with maverick players like Eric Cantona, but the ex-England captain doesn’t believe Fergie would have gambled on Balotelli.

City boss Roberto Mancini’s indulgence of Balotelli and his bust-up with Tevez will return to haunt him, according to Robson, who said: “Because of Balotelli’s record, the gaffer (Ferguson) wouldn’t have even tried to bring him here. With Cantona he could see something he could use.

“I’m not saying the gaffer could not have handled Balotelli but you never know. I heard he was offered everywhere (by Inter Milan). Managers didn’t want him because he was a problem.”

But Robson, 55, added: “It’s been difficult for Mancini. He’s tried to stay on Balotelli’s side while Tevez goes off to Argentina. You’ve got two players who if they were honest pros would be in the team all the time.

“Fergie is probably the best at handling players – when to have a go, when to back off, when to protect them in the press, when to hammer them in the press. He’s an expert at it. You would think he was a psychologist.”

Robson’s old club will be looking to restore their five-point cushion at home to Aston Villa this afternoon.

But Villa’s Austria Under-21 sensation Andreas Weimann is relishing his first visit to Old Trafford, saying: “It’s not long ago that Gabby (Agbonlahor) scored the winner there, so why not again?”