By NEIL CUSTIS
ROBERTO MANCINI has told Mario Balotelli it is time to start producing more for Manchester Ctiy.
Many believed a good Euro 2012 for Balotelli with Italy would prove to be the turning point in his chequered career.
But Mancini is not convinced the controversial striker has changed and wants too see evidence of a better attitude on the pitch.
Mancini said: “Mario is the same. Maybe he can improve but I don’t think he will change in one month.
“If he always plays like he did in the European Championships then yes, he will get better.
“But he has a big responsibility here, for us. He is an important player who we spent a lot of money on. He can do his job better here.”
Bad-boy Balotelli signed for £22million from Inter Milan two years ago. Controversial incidents on and off the pitch have marred his undoubted talent.
Tomorrow he returns to the scene of one of his most infamous on pitch flashpoints when the champions take on Liverpool at Anfield.
Last season he came on as a 65th-minute substitute but was off within 15 minutes for two bookable offences.
He was also red carded in the defeat at Arsenal in April which looked to have finished off City’s title chances and he has not started a competitive game for the club since.
The Italian, 22, received a retrospective ban for a stamp on Scott Parker at home to Spurs last season too.
Tomorrow he will start after coming on as a late sub in the opening 3-2 home win over Southampton.
It is his chance to stamp his mark on the team with Sergio Aguero likely to be out until City face Stoke on September 15 because of a knee injury.
However, that is an injury which the Argentine FA seem to have ignored after he was called up for international duty next month.
It is a decision which has left Mancini angered.
He added: “This is impossible because he is not even going to be able to train for at least two weeks. I know these are the rules, but they are ridiculous rules.
“We will have to see what happens in the next 10 days and after that we will make a decision.”
Despite Liverpool’s opening-day 3-0 thumping at West Brom, Mancini is convinced City are in for a tough afternoon at Anfield.
He said: “I think Liverpool will fight for the title this year. They have bought good players, have a good manager and have changed their style.
“Every game at Anfield is really tough, for us it will be a difficult game because they come from a game against West Brom where they didn’t deserve to lose.”
Mancini is still hopeful of adding to his squad before the transfer window closes on Friday having missed out on a number of top targets.
He insists they will not buy Athletic Bilbao midfielder Javi Martinez unless the £30m asking price is lowered.
And he even says winger Adam Johnson will not be allowed to leave unless they are able to sign more players.
Mancini said: “We can’t sell a player if we don’t buy other players because we won’t have enough players.”