Saturday March 9 2013
Balotelli: 'What Mancini meant...'

Mario Balotelli asked referees for more protection, praised Giampaolo Pazzini and replied to Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini.

The striker netted his fifth Serie A goal in as many games, scoring in last night’s 2-0 win over Genoa.

“I am well, although I am still not 100 per cent after that knock to my leg,” he told Milan Channel.

“I came on last night without really warming up and I got another knock, but after a massage in the locker room at half-time I recovered. I have a week to recover and think about Palermo.

“Defenders can kick me as much as they want to, but the referee has to make decisions on the field. He was pretty good to me last night, though defenders often don’t get the punishment they deserve for kicking us strikers. I don’t understand why he booked me after 20 seconds for a push, though.”

Pazzini was on target before making way for Balotelli due to an injury.

“I cheer on Pazzo and hope he scores many goals. He is a great striker and someone who really knows how to find the net. A player like Pazzini deserves to play and score goals.

“I expected to settle down quickly at Milan and get along with my teammates. I’m happy it has happened so fast. I still have regrets over the Derby and other opportunities.”

This week Manchester City manager Mancini said Mario will probably continue his antics even when he’s 30.

“Mancio said I will always be myself,” replied Balotelli. “Mistakes are made at any age and he didn’t mean what was written in the papers.”

The January signing is cup-tied, so cannot take part in Tuesday’s Champions League match at Camp Nou.

“You don’t need to motivate yourself to play against Barcelona. I hope my teammates play a great game and, even if they don’t, that they qualify.

“I can’t play in the Champions League, so I can only stay close to the squad. Barcelona are the strongest team in the world and they will be eager to make up for the first leg. They might have a few problems, but they remain the best in the world.”

The Rossoneri are now within two points of Napoli in second place, although the Partenopei travel to Chievo on Sunday afternoon.

“From January to June my objective is Serie A and my objective is always to finish first. If we finish second or third, that’s fine, but I always target first place.”