Mario Balotelli should have been sent off, says Harry Redknapp

By Phil McNultyChief Football Writer, BBC Sport

Mario Balotelli should have been sent off for "blatantly" kicking Scott Parker in the head during the 3-2 defeat by Manchester City, according to Tottenham manager Harry Redknapp.

Balotelli later gave City a dramatic victory with an injury-time penalty.

The incident went unpunished by referee Howard Webb and came after the 21-year-old Italian had been booked.

"Having looked at it, I do [think he should have been sent off]," Redknapp said.

The Football Association has not commented on the incident.

Balotelli, who was introduced as a second-half substitute, got involved in a tangle with Parker during the second half.

His initial contact appeared accidental but the second contact seemed to involve a deliberate movement of the foot towards Parker.

"The first one could have been an accident, but on the second one he's backheeled him straight in the head," Redknapp said.

"It is not the first time he has done that and I am sure it won't be the last.

"I am the last person to talk about getting people sent off and what they should and shouldn't do.

"But it is blatant. He reacts to challenges like that at times. Scott has got a cut on his head."

Redknapp's anger was increased when Balotelli scored the late penalty that maintained City's lead at the top of the Premier League and damaged Spurs's own title hopes after he was fouled by Ledley King.

Following defeat at Etihad Stadium - just their second in the Premier League since August - Tottenham are eight points adrift of leaders City.

City opened up a two-goal lead courtesy of Samir Nasri and Joleon Lescott but Spurs responded through Jermain Defoe and Gareth Bale before Balotelli's decisive late intervention in the closing seconds.

Redknapp felt Balotelli should not have been on the pitch to take the kick and added: "It is up to their manager [Roberto Mancini] to deal with it.

"I have got my own opinions but I don't like people kicking other people in the head on football pitches. I don't think it's wrong to say that.

"Why you should backheel someone in the head when they are lying on the floor is beyond me. It's not a nice thing to do."

Manchester City coach David Platt, standing in for Mancini at the post-match press conference, said he had not seen a replay of the incident.

Platt said: "I never saw anything live and there was nothing from the players live either. Until we have seen it we cannot really comment.

"What we are aware of from the last month is that different TV angles can show different things."

Former referee Dermot Gallagher believes Balotelli should have been sent off but does not think referee Howard Webb should be blamed for missing the incident.

He told BBC Radio 5 live: "After countless replays I think it's a red card but I think it's still a very subjective thing to look at.

"Only Mario really knows what he was thinking and what he was doing and that's the problem the FA may have.

"When [Webb] looks back, the incident has already taken place and in many ways he's done the FA a service if they need to take action because, by not gambling and suddenly hooking out a yellow card and making a mistake, he's left it alone and the process can take place."

Sunday's incident is the latest in a long line of controversies since Balotelli joined City in a £24 deal from Inter Milan in the summer of 2010.

He has had several on-field skirmishes and away from the pitch he threw a dart at a youth team player and escaped unhurt after a firework was let off inside his home.

Mancini claimed the forward had calmed down after an impressive start to the current season - between September and December he scored 11 goals in 14 appearances.

The striker averages fewer minutes per goal than any other player in the Premier League, but only two players have been shown cards more often than Balotelli - relative to how much time they have spent on the pitch.

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