Bonucci: ‘Balotelli must understand’

by | Nov 18, 2014 22:22

Leonardo Bonucci warned Mario Balotelli “needs the intelligence to understand” the right attitude for Italy.

The Juventus defender wore the captain’s armband for tonight’s 1-0 friendly victory over Albania.

Leonardo Bonucci warned Mario Balotelli “needs the intelligence to understand” the right attitude for Italy.

The Juventus defender wore the captain’s armband for tonight’s 1-0 friendly victory over Albania.

“We have realised that what we need above all is patience. We got the chance to test out many players who normally wouldn’t be able to play for Italy and they gave a great response,” he told Rai Sport.

“Now we have to keep faith with this project and trust Conte will bring Italy back to the top, becoming that team that everyone once feared.”

Coach Antonio Conte was visibly irritated today and hit back at critics, also suggesting nobody would ‘help’ the Nazionale.

“It’s difficult to get into his head to know what he meant, but as far as I am concerned some worrying statistics have emerged showing there are very few Italians who play every weekend in Serie A. That makes it difficult for the Coach to find suitable alternatives.

“However, we also know that thanks to Conte there is an important project, organisation and a plan. Qualification is not easy, as everyone comes looking for a result now, so we need patience and when we are on international duty to get into the mentality the Coach wants: sacrifice and hard work.”

With that in mind, Conte also implied Balotelli had not yet understood the need to work hard for the Azzurri.

“Nobody pinned the blame on Balotelli or anyone else. It was the fault of the 23 who went to the World Cup and all the mistakes we made during that adventure,” pointed out Bonucci.

“I have always said that Mario is in control of his destiny. If he is intelligent enough to understand he needs to have the mentality of a workhorse, to be part of a team and fight hard, then he can become important for this group. It all depends on him.

“I only arrived on Friday and he left on Saturday, so I don’t know if anything happened this week.”

Bonucci pulled up during the second half and appeared to request a substitution, but was then able to run it off.

“I just felt my adductor muscle firm up. It has happened a few times over the last few years, so I know my body and how far I can push it. I put ice on it and the situation improved.”

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