Press Association Balotelli, who was signed by Mancini for City before being sold to AC Milan in January, insisted his fellow Italian is a “great manager”. Asked about Mancini being sacked, Balotelli told CNN: “I am not really surprised but when I was with him he was a great manager and we had one of the best teams I have played with, the best players. I don’t know why they didn’t win. But obviously there were some problems inside. I am here [Milan] so I don’t know.” Mario Balotelli is not surprised that Roberto Mancini was sacked by Manchester City because of internal problems between his former manager and the club. City said on Monday that Mancini had been sacked after failing to meet all “stated targets” apart from qualifying for next season’s Champions League. The club added: “This, combined with an identified need to develop a holistic approach to all aspects of football at the club, has meant that the decision has been taken to find a new manager for the 2013-14 season and beyond.” Reports in Spain said Malaga have opened the way for Manuel Pellegrini, whose representatives have already held talks with City, to move on at the end of the season and he is favourite to replace Mancini. The Malaga Hoy newspaper said the Qatari-owned Spanish club has waived the release fee in the Chilean’s contract which would allow him to leave when it expires on July 1, and that he has already agreed a two-year deal with City. However the club are unlikely to announce any appointment before next week’s short end-of-season tour to the USA where Brian Kidd will remain in charge of the team.