Nice coach Lucien Favre has blasted his star striker Mario Balotelli for putting in a “negative performance” as they crashed out of the Champions League at the playoff round on Tuesday.
Balotelli had little or no impact on the game and was substituted at the start of the second half when Napoli scored their first goal of the night on their way to a 2-0 win.
The controversial striker was called over for a jewelry infraction and while in the process of having it covered, his side conceded while down to 10 men.
Balotelli had some words for the officials immediately following the goal, and was eventually replaced in the 77th minute with Nice trailing 3-0 on aggregate.
“I don’t want to talk about his performance. It was a negative performance and he should’ve come off a lot earlier.”
“I call it the way I see it, he wasn’t good enough tonight. I don’t know what happened on the first goal. I just saw there was something between Balotelli and the officials.”
“The Europa League is the right level for Nice and it’ll be a difficult tournament,” he said. “Napoli are strong, they have been at the top for a while and playing the same style of football for years.
“Tactically and physically, they were fantastic tonight. From the moment we got them in the draw, I knew it was going to be very difficult.
“We didn’t defend well enough and did better against Ajax in the last round. We were more open in the first half, but struggled to win back possession and then spark attacking moves.”
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