The coach defended his striker from heavy criticism in the past few days and insisted that his job is not under pressure, citing the previous regime for the players’ problems
Clarence Seedorf has bemoaned that Mario Balotelli is being used as a scapegoat as people seek someone to blame for AC Milan’s poor form.
The striker, 23, put in a shoddy showing as the Rossoneri were beaten 4-1 by Atletico Madrid in midweek, eliminating them from the Champions League in the process.
Seedorf suggested Balotelli will play Sunday’s clash with Parma despite having a minor niggle in midweek, but rubbished reports he was set to change his tone with the former Manchester City man based on his recent performances.
“As a preventative measure due to a slight muscular problem, he stayed behind to work in the gym, but it’s nothing serious,” the Dutch coach told reporters on Saturday.
“It’s only natural for people to now seek scapegoats, but we will remain united and focused. If we had beaten Juventus and Atletico at home, then things would’ve changed.
“Do I use the carrot or the stick with players? I only use the carrot. When there’s the need to check on a situation, I do it, but my philosophy is to face everything with a smile.
“Will I punish him? I want a rapport between adults, not between an adult and a child. No, Giampaolo Pazzini will not start tomorrow.”
Seedorf, who was hired in January, also sought to put blame on Massimiliano Allegri’s reign for the poor fitness and mental strength of his inherited players and rejected any notion that his job is under pressure.
“For the past two years Milan have been chasing down the others and psychologically it was tough,” he added. “When I got here, I did not find a team in good physical or psychological shape. We can’t think everything will improve straight away.
“The players are improving, but results have not been consistent, so that is what we are looking for now. We have to turn the page, target European qualification and focus only on what happens on the field.
“There is nobody guilty here, as we are all working to get the best for Milan. With CEO Adriano Galliani we’ll do everything in future to make the Milan fans proud of us. It’s a difficult situation right now, as we are lacking confidence.
“How many times has a coach been at risk after a few months, despite signing a two-year contract? I am not responsible for the situation that was created. I am here to improve the situation.
“I have a contract, the club has faith in me and I am trying to give my best. There was a lot of work to do here, so I am certain that with me the club will construct a strong Milan for future seasons. It doesn’t matter if you are not optimistic, because I am.”