Roberto Mancini picks Luis Suarez as his player of the year

Mancini 'Suarez is player of the year'

Manchester City boss Roberto Mancini says Luis Suarez is his player of the year, despite the Liverpool striker's ban for biting Branislav Ivanovic.

PFA chief executive Gordon Taylor said it would be "embarrassing" were Suarez, whom the FA has suspended for 10 matches, to win Sunday's PFA award.

But Mancini defended Suarez, saying: "He made a mistake, he said sorry to everyone. Do you want to kill him?"

Suarez, 26, has scored 30 goals in 44 games for Liverpool this season.

The Reds talisman is on a shortlist of six for the prize, along with Gareth Bale, Robin van Persie, Michael Carrick, Eden Hazard and Juan Mata.

But Mancini is clear about his choice.

"I don't know Suarez as a man, I know him as a player and this year he was one of the best in the Premier League.

"He has got his punishment. It's finished."

Suarez bit Chelsea defender Ivanovic during last Sunday's Premier League game at Anfield, which finished 2-2.

He apologised and was fined by Liverpool on Monday.

Despite the Reds saying they were "shocked and disappointed" by the size of the punishment, Suarez chose to accept it rather than appeal.

He will miss Liverpool's last four games of the campaign, and the first six of next season.

PFA chief executive Taylor earlier said: "It would be embarrassing if he is named Player of the Year.

"But we have got to deal with it and make sure he is Player of the Year not just in a footballing sense but as a human being as well and we will be trying to do that."

Suarez is considered one of the three front-runners for the award, along with last year's winner Van Persie and Bale, who won in 2011.

Bale, 23, has scored 23 goals in 39 appearances for Tottenham this term, helping their push for Champions League qualification.

Van Persie has scored 28 goals in 44 appearances for Manchester United, including a title-clinching hat-trick on Monday, although that came after the votes had been cast.

Even if Suarez fails to triumph in the main award, he is expected to be included in the Premier League team of the year.

Each member of the PFA gets two votes, which were cast before Suarez's bite on Ivanovic.

Bale and Hazard are also up for the Young Player of the Year award, along with Christian Benteke, Romelu Lukaku, Danny Welbeck and Jack Wilshere.

If Bale wins both awards, he will follow Andy Gray and Cristiano Ronaldo in doing the double.

To mark the award's 40th anniversary, there is now a women's category, with Scotland's Kim Little and her Arsenal team-mate Jordan Nobbs among those nominated.

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