It was all going so well for Mario Balotelli at Nice.
But this is Balotelli we’re talking about and it was simply too good to be true.
The Italian became the first player in 25 years to score four goals in his first two matches in Ligue 1 - not a bad start.
He continued to bang in the goals and has scored nine goals in 13 league appearances to date as Nice sit just five points off the top of the table having led for much of the campaign.
But Balotelli is now finding regular first-team hard to come by all of a sudden and Nice manager Lucien Favre has revealed exactly why.
Balotelli had to settle for a place on the bench during their victory over Saint-Etienne in midweek and missed Sunday’s 2-2 draw with Rennes through injury.
Why Balotelli has been dropped
And Favre suggests that Balotelli hasn’t been playing recently because of his poor defensive work.
“I don’t want to talk about Mario, because we’ve been discussing his work helping out in defence since the start of the season,” Favre said in a press conference, as reported by Football Italia.
“We take all the good things that Mario has given us so far, but what can I do? What is a Coach to do? I have to start the best possible line-up based on my ideas.
“Everyone knows this has been an issue hard-wired into his game for years and it will take him a while to adjust.
“I don’t want to hold a Press conference just to talk about Balotelli.”
The comments from Favre comes just days after Nice midfielder Valentin Eysseric questioned his teammate's attitude.
Eysseric says the 26-year-old needs to “think a bit more collectively and work more for us.”
Eysseric continued: “When [Balotelli] messes up, his head goes down and he grumbles. Sometimes it’s difficult to talk to him.
“He clams up when things aren’t perfect. It’s a shame that he’s like that and his head goes down.”
It’s hardly surprising that Jurgen Klopp didn’t see Balotelli fitting into his ‘gegenpressing’ style at Liverpool if these comments are anything to go by.News Now - Sport News