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The striker insists the Rossoneri are not inferior to any club in Italy and claims that recent newspaper criticism has reminded him of life in England

Mario Balotelli believes that AC Milan will be back among the top Serie A spots by Christmas, having endured a poor start to 2013-14.

The Rossoneri sit in 12th, already 10 points behind table-topping Roma and seven points adrift of the third place they claimed last season, but the former Manchester City striker insists that the club are not beneath any club in Serie A, quality-wise.

"We can return to the top by Christmas," he told La Gazzetta dello Sport. "We are not inferior to anyone, we just change things up.

"This season's title race promises to be very balanced, it will be exciting. It's not like the days of [Roberto] Mancini and [Jose] Mourinho, when Inter were stronger than everyone else."

Balotelli's sending off against Napoli last weekend caused a stir, forcing him to publicly apologise and the 23-year-old admits that newspapers' criticism of him reminded him of being back in England.

"I ran away from the Premier League because the newspapers hammered me," he added.

"Now, in Italy, things are not much better. But I'm glad to be back at AC Milan, the club for which I always supported as a child."

Although Massimiliano Allegri pulled no punches with his criticism of his star striker's red card on Sunday, Balotelli says that his relationship with the Milan coach remains favourable.

"With Allegri, we're okay," the Italy international added. "We play well, we hope to follow him as a team, but we need a little more than luck to get back among the top three or four and to play a part in the second half of the season."

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