Joleon Lescott hits back at Mario Balotelli, Carlos Tevez critics

Joleon Lescott
© PA Photos
Joleon Lescott believes that some of the heat needs to be taken off Manchester City duo Carlos Tevez and Mario Balotelli.

Manchester City defender Joleon Lescott believes that criticism towards Mario Balotelli is "harsh" and that the team are "grateful" for the return of Carlos Tevez.

The club's controversial strikers have hit the headlines for the wrong reasons on a number of occasions throughout the season.

Italian hitman Balotelli has been judged for his uncontrolled behaviour on and off the pitch, while Argentina international Tevez sparked outrage when he refused to play for City in September and deserted the club for months by jetting off to South America.

While the futures of both players remain uncertain, Tevez has made an impact since his return to the first team by netting a hat-trick during City's 6-1 victory over Norwich City at the weekend.

"I think it's a bit harsh to solely blame Mario," Lescott told Sky Sports News. "He's a young player and he's going to make mistakes - we all did at that age.

"We're not dwelling on the past [controversy with Tevez]. Who's to say that if Carlos had stayed he wouldn't have got injured and missed the rest of the season. We're just grateful that he's back and playing for Man City and scoring goals."

City are currently five points behind league leaders Manchester United in the table.

Mario Balotelli
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