MARIO Balotelli says the unswerving support of Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini has been key to his improved performances this season.
After a largely troubled start to his time at City since arriving from Inter Milan in August 2010, Balotelli has shone in the opening weeks of this campaign, scoring four goals in four games and demonstrating a calmer demeanour than in the past.
Amid the troubles of his first season in England -- which in addition to a number of off-field transgressions also saw him sent off twice -- the backing of the 21-year-old's manager was rarely slow in coming.
Mancini was responsible for bringing the raw Balotelli through the ranks when coach of Inter, and the striker admits his compatriot was for a long time his only ally in England.
"With Mancini I feel very comfortable," Balotelli said.
"I've known him a long time and he's a good manager.
"He believed in me. Even when no one in England believed in me, he did.
"And he kept on believing in me. I want to do something important here with him."
Balotelli added that changes in his lifestyle away from the pitch have also contributed to his better displays.
"I changed things in my life," he said.
"I don't live in town any more. I'm outside now so it's more quiet.
"Maybe I'll stay in now with my family, my brother or girlfriend. They weren't here last year.
"It's quieter now but also I am growing up. If last year I missed home so much, maybe now I miss it a little bit less. I'm okay now, I'm good.