Balotelli got ‘a good clip round the back of his head’ – Cardinale

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The shot-stopper has said that his team-mate has responded well to being dropped against Saint-Etienne and impressed in training this week

Nice goalkeeper Yoann Cardinale has said that Mario Balotelli’s attitude has improved since being dropped to the bench by Lucien Favre for a recent Ligue 1 match.

How can you be more Zlatan?

The striker missed last weekend’s fixture against Rennes, a 2-2 draw, because he was suffering from flu-like symptoms, but a few days earlier he had been forced to sit out on the bench as the Ligue 1 challengers beat Saint-Etienne 1-0.

He had been the subject of some criticism from team-mate Valentin Eysseric, but Cardinale believes that the whole episode may have been healthy for the Italy striker.

“There was a decision to make and the coach made his choice,” the keeper said. “He wasn’t happy that he was a substitute, but I don’t know any player who is happy to be on the bench.

“This could be a good clip round the head and at training this week he’s been really good. He’s done everything the coach has asked of him.”

Nice go to bottom side Lorient on Sunday, and Balotelli is likely to be back in the starting XI as top scorer Alassane Plea is absent due to a knee injury. The Italian, meanwhile, is still seeking his first away goal in Ligue 1.

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