Mario Balotelli could make his first start since returning to AC Milan as the Rossoneri travel to Udinese on Tuesday looking to build on their gutsy 3-2 win over Palermo at the weekend.
Balotelli re-joined Milan on a season-long loan deal last month after a disastrous year with Liverpool, whom he joined in the summer of 2014 following a mitigated 18 months at the San Siro.
The 25-year-old has made two appearances so far for Sinisa Mihajlovic’s side, coming off the bench in the second half in the 1-0 derby defeat to Inter Milan and then against Palermo on Saturday when fellow striker Carlos Bacca hit a brace in a 3-2 victory over the Sicilians.
With Slovakian midfielder Juraj Kucka and defender Ignazio Abate joining Milan’s growing casualty list, Mihajlovic said on Monday he is set to ring the changes for a trip north which he labelled “difficult”.
That means Balotelli, who was ordered to adhere to a strict list of rules by the Italian giants upon his arrival last month, could start for Milan.
Despite having his driving licence suspended last month for speeding in his Lamborghini at 90 km/h in a 50 km/h zone, the striker has satisfied Mihajlovic with his “exemplary” behaviour “on and off the pitch”.
“Balotelli could start, but I haven’t decided yet. There will be a few changes but I want to keep as many of my regulars as possible,” said the Serbian.
Asked if he thought Balotelli had changed, Mihajlovic added: “I don’t know what he was like before, I knew him when he was a 17-year-old at Inter and now he’s 25.
“All I knew was what I read in the newspapers and what I saw him do when he was playing. Up until now, he’s been exemplary on and off the pitch.
“I can’t fault his behaviour, although I always impress on him to improve.”
After failing to qualify for Europe this season, seven-time European champions Milan are desperate to turn their ailing fortunes around, although the Rossoneri have won only two of their four games so far.
With three goals in four matches it has been a positive start for Bacca, but Mihajlovic warned the Colombian striker not to rest on his laurels and ordered Milan’s defence, having conceded six times already, to plug the holes.
“I’m very demanding with myself and my players. I’m never satisfied,” added Mihajlovic. “Bacca has scored three goals, but he could have had more.”
He added: “Tomorrow our objective is to not concede any goals. We know the areas in which we need to improve.”
Credit : AFP