Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini does not trust Balotelli

Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini admits he does not trust striker Mario Balotelli, but will continue to play the enigmatic Italian.

"No, I don't trust Mario. No-one trusts Mario," Mancini told BBC Sport.

Mancini also hit back at Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson saying Carlos Tevez's return is "desperate".

On Wednesday, pictures were circulated of an apparent bust-up between Mancini and Balotelli at City's Carrington training complex.external-link

Mancini played down the row, but admitted he did not know what to expect from the unpredictable 21-year-old.

"He is a top player," said Mancini

"He can do everything. He can score two goals against Arsenal next week. But he can also take a red card.

"Until now he did well and in the last eight games he could be important for us. But trust him? Never."

City are three points behind leaders United with the Manchester clubs battling it out to win the Premier League title. Balotelli chose to spend two days off in Italy last week and gatecrashed new Inter Milan boss Andrea Stramaccioni's first press conference.

Mancini clarified his striker's presence at the press conference, but admitted Balotelli needed to grow up, with the incident the latest in a string of bizarre antics.

"At the press conference he was there like a journalist. It is better you ask him why but he had two days off," said Mancini.

"I can't put him in his house for two days.

"Probably the moment will arrive when he will know what he should do when he has two days off.

"I hope he will grow out of it because he needs to know this is his job. He needs to work and rest. But he is young."

Meanwhile, Mancini disputed Ferguson's suggestion that bringing back Tevez was an act of desperation.

"It is not important for me what Sir Alex says," said Mancini.

"I have big respect for him. I'm sure what I say is not important to him. I think the only thing that is important for him and for me is to win the championship.

"Carlos Tevez is a Manchester City player. He wanted to leave the club in January, but this was not possible.

"Now he is again a big player for us. Desperation for what? We were without Tevez for seven months and dominated this championship. I don't think so. He is a City player and maybe he can help us in the last six or seven games."