Clarence Seedorf said he “just wants to be the Coach of Milan” and blamed media for not helping Mario Balotelli’s growth process.
The tactician is increasingly isolated at San Siro, as shown by the refusal of the club figures to publicly back him in recent weeks, including joint-CEOs Adriano Galliani and Barbara Berlusconi.
According to reports, Seedorf held the interview with Sky at home without informing the club.
“I think I have a rapport with Mr Galliani that goes beyond football. We met many times with our families in Brazil too,” Seedorf told Sky Sport Italia.
“I don’t want to take Galliani’s place, nor that of the President or anyone else. I just want to be the Coach of Milan.
“I have the utmost respect for Mr Galliani, as he put a lot of faith in me. Feeling the club is close to a Coach is fundamental. I asked the club to be close to me and Mr Galliani’s advice is always welcome, as he was close to all the Milan Coaches over the years.”
Seedorf was asked about Balotelli, who complained after his substitution in the 2-0 defeat to Roma and then engaged in a spat with Sky Sport Italia pundits on live television.
“Balotelli has improved. He asked me why he was substituted against Roma, the same way Keisuke Honda did against Lazio. We have an excellent rapport between adults.
“I don’t think he left the field in a bad way. As for insulting his teammates after a misplaced pass, I’ve seen that gesture a thousand times in my career.
“Journalists have not helped Balotelli’s growth process. I talk to him and give constructive criticism, but I do it in private, not via the media. At times it’s better to leave him alone.
“I feel his positive changes are not highlighted. It’s not fair just to highlight the negative moments. His scoring statistics are strong, as this is the most prolific season of his career.
“I said from the start that the tactical system isn’t as important as the approach. I am not closed to the idea of Giampaolo Pazzini and Balotelli together, but right now we have found our balance. I appreciate Pazzini a lot, as he’s determined and can make the difference in the final 30 minutes.”