Milan coach Sinisa Mihajlovic hailed Mario Balotelli’s composure and labelled the Liverpool loanee “the best player” against Udinese.
Balotelli made his first start since returning to Milan in August and scored their opening goal in the 3-2 Serie A victory on Tuesday, curling a free-kick into the top corner in the fifth minute.
The controversial striker was impressive leading the line for Milan alongside Carlos Bacca, with Balotelli earning nine free-kicks for the visitors – more than any other player in Mihajlovic’s line-up – which impressed his Serbian coach.
“He had a good game and kept his composure despite the many fouls [he suffered],” Mihajlovic told Premium Sport.
“Balotelli showed that he is back to the level we all know he possesses.
“Today he was the best player in all aspects. He must continue like this, but I also want to congratulate [Milan CEO Adriano] Galliani for signing him.”
Giacomo Bonaventura and Cristian Zapata added goals in the first half for Milan before Mihajlovic’s side endured a nervous second period at the Stadio Comunale Friuli after Emmanuel Agyemang-Badu and Daniel Zapata struck in the opening 15 minutes following the interval.
“The first half was good,” Mihajlovic said.
“There was only one team on the pitch.
“[At half-time] I told my players to stay focused for 90 minutes.
“We must learn how to better manage our nerves, as we tend to lose confidence in our ability to not concede, whenever we are under pressure.
“But given all the absences we had, it was important to win as we have now collected six points in four days.
“Congratulations to the team for the first 45 minutes, not the second.”