Italy boss backs angry Mario

If Balotelli was angry, he must learn to take criticism, says Prandelli

By Simone Bargellini.   Last Updated: June 19, 2012 5:15pm
Leonardo Bonucci covers Mario Balotelli's mouth after the striker's goal against Ireland
Leonardo Bonucci covers Mario Balotelli's mouth after the striker's goal against Ireland

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Italy boss Cesare Prandelli has supported Mario Balotelli despite the forward appearing angry with him after scoring against Ireland.
Balotelli was dropped by Prandelli for Italy's vital Group C clash against the Republic of Ireland on Monday.
The Manchester City striker responded with a late goal to make it 2-0 to the Azzurri but then had to be restrained by team-mate Leonardo Bonucci.
There have been some suggestions this was in order to prevent Balotelli from hurling abuse at the coach, but Prandelli is relaxed about his relationship with the 21-year-old.
"This is his behaviour," said Prandelli. "We know him. But basically Balotelli is a golden boy.
"I honestly don't know if he was angry with me. I'll ask him.
"But I liked how the team-mates protected and defended him. Bonucci was good and there was confirmation that we are a good group."


Despite bringing Antonio Di Natale into the starting line-up for the Ireland game, Prandelli has generally shown great faith in his temperamental strike duo of Balotelli and Antonio Cassano.
Both men rewarded the Azzurri coach with a goal on Monday and Prandelli is keen for them to keep reacting in a positive manner.
He added on Tuesday: "If Mario wants to become a champion he must understand that nobody is out to harm him. He must learn how to accept criticism and a place on the bench.
"Yesterday when he came on he did exactly what I had asked. I am very happy with him and Cassano, as well as the whole team."
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