"Bellamy is my friend," said Mancini. "There is no problem. I spoke with him two days ago. He understood when I told him he wasn’t starting.Inevitably, Bellamy - being a Hughes 'loyalist' is one of the aspects the media have focused on in the wake of his sacking, with some suggestions being that he was set to hand in a transfer request as a consequence.
"We have two games in three days and I need all the players at 100%. Today we played Robinho. It is possible we will play Craig at Wolves on Monday."
All of that was no doubt overblown, and although Bellamy would understandably be disappointed and upset with Hughes's departure, Hughes was not the only reason he came to the club, namely that we offered him a last shot at a trophy and Champions League football. Regardless of how he is feeling, as a professional, he will not lose sight of that and will he realistically get a better opportunity elsewhere?
I'm sure Bellamy will be back, most likely on Monday, as with Wright-Phillips still struggling with injury, Petrov will certainly continue on the right hand side. With his injury history, there is no way Bellamy can feature in every one of the games over the ten day festive period and I'm sure Mancini looked at Stoke as the most likely one that he can afford him to sit out.