Mihajlovic: Balotelli can have a big season at AC Milan

The Rossoneri were beaten 1-0 by city rivals Inter but the Serb took a lot of encouragement out of the performance of the on-loan Liverpool striker

AC Milan coach Sinisa Mihajlovic believes that Mario Balotelli can have a big season at San Siro, after watching the striker make a positive impact in Sunday’s derby defeat to Inter.

Balotelli has returned to the Rossoneri on loan from Liverpool, after enduring a dire 2014-15 campaign at Anfield that featured just one Premier League goal.

Milan have inserted a number of conduct-related clauses in the Italy international’s contract in the hope of getting the best out the 25-year-old, who has been involved in a succession of off-field incidents during his career.

On Sunday, Balotelli made his first appearance since returning to Milan and went desperately close to forcing an equaliser during a stirring 28-minute cameo, with the forward hitting the post late on.

“It is still too early to make a judgment but he came on with the right attitude and did well,” Mihajlovic told Sky Sport Italia after Fredy Guarin’s goal had decided the Derby della Madonnina in Inter’s favour.

“He can give us a big hand in the rest of the season but he knows what he has to do.

“And everyone did well. For this reason, there’s a lot of disappointment because of the result.

“I don’t think that we deserved to lose. The difference was that they scored a goal and we didn’t manage to.

“In certain situations, we need to be more decisive and more aggressive but in relation to the first two games, this was a big step forward.

“It’s a shame we lost, but I cannot complain about the performance. Tonight, I found my team again.

“I can be happy when we lose and unhappy when we win, because if we keep playing like this then we’ll be successful.

“The only thing I’m unhappy with is the result. We took the initiative. We could’ve done better in the goal situation, but we also have to give credit to Inter and Guarin for scoring a great goal.”

Balotelli had come on in place of Carlos Bacca, with Mihajlovic explaining that he felt that the €30 million summer signing from Sevilla had been Milan’s weakest link.

“Why did I take Carlos off? Because he hadn’t done as well as the others and there was a need to maintain a certain balance on the pitch,” the Serbian coach added.

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