The Italian striker was given his marching orders for dissent in Saturday’s win over Lorient, but his coach could see little reason to be angry
Nice coach Lucien Favre says Mario Balotelli was warned not to get sent off in Saturday’s game against Lorient, but he refrained from criticising the striker.
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After clashing with Zargo Toure over a high ball, Balotelli was sent off for apparent dissent toward referee Tony Chapron in the second half of his side’s 1-0 win.
The sending off was the Italian’s third since joining Nice in August, but Favre admits he did not see the dismissal and would not blame the 26-year-old.
“I am not like that. It’s clear that going down to 10 when there are still 25 minutes to play, it’s tough,” he said, via the club’s website.
“Before every game, my final words in the changing rooms are to not get a red and not to give away a penalty.
“I didn’t see what happened. Some words must have been said… I don’t know.
“Mario had a good week in training, he was more involved, even if you need to back him up a lot because of him getting back into position.”
A first-half goal from Wylan Cyprien proved to be enough for Nice to keep the pressure on league leaders Monaco.
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Favre praised his team for battling to their victory after Balotelli was sent off in the 68th minute.
“We dug in deep to hold on,” he said.
“It is just as equally deserved for the 10 on the pitch as for the two that came on.”