Roberto Mancini has warned Mario Balotelli to “control his anger, because everyone knows how to get him sent off.”
The Milan striker is sitting out a three-match ban for insulting the referee at the end of their 2-1 defeat to Napoli on Sunday night and Coach Massimiliano Allegri was very critical of his behaviour, telling Super Mario he had to “grow up.”
It’s familiar territory for Mancini, who worked with Balo at both Inter and Manchester City.
“His situation is a spiral, because now everyone knows how to get him sent off. It just takes a couple of kicks to make him lose his head and they behave accordingly,” Mancini told La Gazzetta dello Sport.
“In England I did aim choice words at some of his markers, as at times the provocation was just so obvious. Whether they do it obviously or not, everyone is trying to get him kicked out.
“There is only one way to get out of this spiral and that is for Mario to control his anger. He has to resist those outbursts of anger and break the pattern. If word gets around that he no longer reacts to provocation, then after a while they’ll stop needling him.
“He also has to understand that all great players will get kicked about a bit during a game, as if defenders can’t stop him fairly, they’ll do it unfairly. That’s football. Modestly speaking, I got a fair few bruises as well in my time...”
Allegri bitterly criticised Balotelli during a Press conference and Milan’s decision not to appeal the ban was a warning the player must take responsibility for his behaviour.
“I’d say Allegri reacted the right way,” continued Mancini. “It’s not easy to be Mario’s Coach, because when the rage isn’t messing him up then he does patiently listen to all your warnings, promising not to do it again, that he will hold back. As soon as a new flurry of anger takes hold, we’re back to square one.”
Think you know your Italian football? Share your knowledge, tips and comments to win cash prizes in OLBG's World Cup tipster competition - £10,000 to be won!