Balotelli talks United battle, Italy omission
Mario Balotelli is confident Manchester City will see off Manchester United's challenge and win the 2011/12 Premier League. Roberto Mancini's men are two points clear of Sir Alex Ferguson's team with 11 rounds remaining.
"We are a great group," Balotelli told La Gazzetta dello Sport. "We have quality. If we remain together until the end, United will finish behind us. They are not to be feared."
Balotelli joined City in the summer of 2010 from Inter Milan, and has scored 14 goals in 24 games this season. The Italian believes he is now a much better player and expects to keep improving.
"The intensity and the effort that I am giving this year, also in training, cannot be compared to that of last year," he said. "I have grown and certain things I've understood."
Balotelli fires EURO warning to rivals
Balotelli was recently left out of the Italy team for the second time after breaching Cesare Prandelli's code of conduct. The Azzurri coach did not select him for the friendly against USA because Balotelli was serving a four-match ban after kicking out at Tottenham Hotspur's Scott Parker on 22 January.
"I was hurt," said Balotelli. "I always say it in the changing room, that the most fascinating jersey for me is that of the national team because of what I feel when I represent my country.
"I often think of the European Championship. I am saddened to have missed the friendly in Genoa. There is an ethical code and I accept it, even though I don't think I deserved it."
Italy struggled without Balotelli and lost 1-0 - their first ever defeat by the Americans.
"I'm not worried about the defeat to the USA and you will understand why after the European Championship," said the forward.