Mario Balotelli in Man City squad to face Villarreal

Mario Balotelli
Balotelli has missed Manchester City's first three Champions League group games

Mario Balotelli has been included in Manchester City's Champions League squad for the first time for their game at Villarreal.

The Italian striker missed City's first three matches in the competition because of a suspension carried over from last season.

Owen Hargreaves, who has been nursing a calf injury anyway, is ineligible, while Carlos Tevez will not feature.

Their first ever win in the competition came against Villarreal last month.

City manager Roberto Mancini feels that the result has changed the complexion of Group A.

Mancini said: "That goal [Sergio Aguero's late winner] was really important. It is not easy to play against Villarreal.

"They are a good team, used to playing in the Champions League. Also, when they played against us in Manchester, they did very well.

"Many top teams have played at El Madrigal and had big problems. The supporters are very close to the teams, and Villarreal when they play at home are a strong team."

While his side have now been installed as Premier League favourites, Mancini is keeping ambitions for the Champions League relatively modest.

He said: "It is the first time in the Champions League for us and we would like to go to the second stage. The first games against Napoli and in Munich were difficult, and the same against Villarreal.

"It is harder than the Premier League. It is a difficult tournament, a very strange tournament."

City defender Pablo Zabaleta added: "We are in a tough group with difficult teams. We know it is going to be very hard and it is tight in front of us.

"If we want to get into first or second position we need to try to get three points."

Manchester City (from): Hart, Kompany, Richards, Kolarov, Lescott, Y Toure, De Jong, Milner, Barry, Silva, Balotelli, Dzeko, Aguero, Savic, Clichy, Johnson, Zabaleta, Nasri, K Toure, Pantilimon.

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