Mario Balotelli is named to start for AC Milan in their Serie A fixture at Udinese, while Cyril Thereau replaces Duvan Zapata up front for the hosts.
Mario Balotelli had been expected to start tonight’s Udinese v Milan match, but could be ruled out with a muscular problem.
There was no denying Milan in the closing seconds of the first half, though.
“It was a hard game for me because I knew they wanted to provoke me”, he told Mediaset Premium.
Asked his thoughts on Balotelli, he said: “If I was in (Milan’s) position I would not have taken him”.
I Azzurri scored two goals in the second half, with the last one right at injury time, to bury Stefano Colantuono’s men deeper in the overall standings.
In contrast, their attacking play was reassuring particularly in the opening stages, with Riccardo Montolivo again excelling in the deeper midfield role while Nigel de Jong returned to add steel alongside him. Keisuke Honda set up Carlos Bacca with an intelligent pass, yet the Colombia worldwide hesitated too long and his shot was eventually blocked by Manuel Iturra.
Off the field issues as per usual marred Balotelli’s time back in the United Kingdom and Rodgers did his utmost to shield his squad from the forward – even making Balotelli train alone throughout the summer.
“We were winning 3-0, but then we got careless”, Balotelli reflected.
Further goals from Giacomo Bonaventura and Cristian Zapata had seemingly put the game to bed before the half-time whistle. But what is interesting is that Udinese usually raise their game when Milan pays a visit.
However, these two sides haven’t drawn over their last seven league appearances (four wins for AC Milan, three for the Friulani). “We should not have let them get back in the game”.