Italy manager Cesare Prandelli has told Mario Balotelli he must learn to accept criticism after his controversial celebration on Monday.
The Manchester City striker was left out of the crunch match with the Republic of Ireland after two lacklustre performances against Spain and Croatia.
And after coming off the bench to score a terrific volley on Monday against the Irish, he was seen to be shouting at the Italian bench, only for team-mate Leonardo Bonucci to cover his mouth.
And Prandelli has called for Balotelli to keep his emotions in check.
“He has to accept criticism, being on the bench and for the team to demand more from him,” Prandelli said.
“The day he understands that no-one wants to hurt him, but rather that everyone is helping him, then we will have, in Italy, a champion.
“Why didn’t he celebrate the goal? That has to be something spontaneous. Perhaps he is not able to express the joy he feels inside. He is like that, he has always been like that but that doesn’t mean he is detached from the group.
“I don’t know if Balotelli was upset with me, I will ask him,” Prandelli continued. “But from Bonucci’s gesture you can see the team spirit in the group.”
The striker’s volley helped put the Italians through as runners-up of Group C and they will now face England in the quarter-finals.
Balotelli has been in the media spotlight throughout Euro 2012 after being victim of racial abuse from Croatian fans during their match in Poznan last Thursday.
But the youngster has now made an impact on the competition for the right reasons and Prandelli was pleased with his impact.
“When he entered the pitch he did what we asked him to do. In order to take that leap and become a champion, Balotelli has to go through these moments,” he said.
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