"He loves playing in England. He keeps asking 'why always me, why does it always come back to me?' He loves playing in England and I think he feels persecuted."
Ooh, the poor baby.
Mario Balotelli's agent, judging by these comments at least, appears to be almost as big a clown as his client. As invariably seems to be the case with the sort of despicable behavior exhibited by Balotelli last Sunday, the fault always lies elsewhere. Maybe it was really Howard Webb who stamped on Scott Parker's head.
How ironic that Balotelli's victim was Parker, someone from whom he could learn a great deal about how to conduct himself as a professional footballer and as a man. And how sickening it was to watch this oaf leave the field at full-time, sniggering behind his hand like a playground bully. His partner in crime, Joleon Lescott, has inexplicably got off scot-free for his forearm smash into the face of Younes Kaboul. Perhaps it was simply too much to expect that the FA would ban two Man. City players as a result of their actions - however blatant and however violent - in the same game.
But enough about thuggery. Spurs would have won over the neutrals as a result of how they played the game, not least in showing the resilience to come back from a two-goal deficit. On another day Defoe would have finished the glorious chance presented to him in injury time and no one could have complained if Spurs had taken all three points.
In the event it was not to be. Man City's winner came from what was admittedly a stonewall penalty, and they would probably also point to the absence of arguably their two most important players, Kompany and Yaya Toure. Nonetheless Spurs were in the ascendancy as the game drew to a close at the Etihad and, if nothing else, illustrated that they are now a very different side to the one that let in five goals against the same opponents at the start of the season.
Yet no matter how close the result was on the day, the fact remains that Man. City are now eight points ahead of Spurs at the top of the table. At the same time, Spurs' lead over Chelsea in fourth is a healthy five points (and a wonderful ten over the club in fifth). After the cup tie at Watford, the next fixture is against the team propping up the Premier League. Wigan have been unfortunate in a number of games this season and, to their credit, continue to try to play rather than kick their way out of their current predicament. They should not be underestimated, but Spurs will be looking to take an even stronger grip on third spot. That's probably a much better bet than Mario Balotelli ever getting a grip on himself.