Milan head coach Sinisa Mihajlovic has claimed new signing Mario Balotelli is currently too fat ahead of the derby against rivals Inter on Sunday.
The 25-year-old has re-joined his former club from Liverpool on a season-long loan deal but is still attempting to reach full match fitness having only started 10 Premier League matches in his one season at Anfield.
Mihajlovic has insisted Balotelli is training well but suggested he would not start the match against Inter because he still had to lose some of his body fat to reach an optimum level of fitness.
“The problem is not his weight, but the fatty tissue,” the Milan boss said at his pre-match news conference.
“He needs to improve his muscular mass and reduce the percentage of fat in his body. Weight and body fat are two different things – he should decrease the second.
“He has lost half a pound so far. In any case, he is training well and is positive.”
The former Sampdoria boss was again critical of his new players ahead of the crunch clash at San Siro, saying they could not get any worse than their performances to date.
“I am optimistic against Inter, because we can’t do much worse than the first two games,” continued Mihajlovic, 46.
“You wrote that some players were offended by my words, but they are professionals – not children. I always say what I think and don’t go looking for excuses.
“My methods can appear rude, but I am accustomed to saying what I think and I am never satisfied.
“For the last three years, Milan have not been Milan. It takes time to change , but we have to think as if we have got no time left.
“Inter won the first two matches, but with goals at the last minute. The derby is a separate entity and neither of the two sides are yet playing the football they want. Both teams have made big changes in the summer.
“Winning the derby would bring great enthusiasm, but ultimately it is only worth three points and it is only the third game.
“As a coach I have never lost a derby and I hope that run continues.”