Roberto Mancini conceded he is very sorry to see the back of Mario Balotelli, after Manchester City struggled to an away draw with Queens Park Rangers last night.
Pablo Zabaleta headed against the bar before Sergio Aguero had a goal chalked off for offside, but City couldn’t beat goalkeeper Julio Cesar.
Balotelli agreed a deal to join AC Milan before kick-off and, after his side drew a blank for 90 minutes, Mancini wished the striker all the best.
“We are very sorry,” he said.
“We love Mario, Mario likes the players but I think he had this big chance to come back to Italy and to play for another top club like Milan.
“I hope Mario can improve and can show he is ready because I think if he works hard he can continue his growing and can become one of the best players in Europe.”
Mancini revealed the deal – believed to be worth £20 million – should be completed tomorrow, once the 22-year-old has undergone a medical in Milan.
But the manager dismissed the possibility of replacing him so late in the transfer window, which slams shut on Thursday.
He said: “I don’t think so because we have two days and it’s difficult to buy a good player.
“In this moment I don’t think we can.”
The draw leaves City four points behind league leaders Manchester United, who face Southampton at Old Trafford tonight.