PA Sport

Nice boss backs Balotelli to get back to his best

Nice boss backs Balotelli to get back to his best
By PA Sport

22/09/2016 at 12:51

Lucien Favre hopes Nice can help Mario Balotelli get back to the top of world football.

The troubled striker has made a flying start to life in Ligue 1, scoring four goals in his first two games including two in Wednesday night's 4-0 victory over Monaco.

Paul Baysse opened the scoring for Nice before Balotelli struck either side of half-time. Alassane Plea added a fourth late on.

Signed for £24million by Manchester City in 2010, Balotelli was allowed to leave Liverpool on a free transfer this summer following an unhappy second spell in the Premier League.

Nice boss Favre said at his post-match press conference : " The goal for 2-0 is very important. Psychologically it really gives us confidence.

"With Mario we know that there is still a lot of work to do on the movement to play with the team. He must continue like this.

"He knows that he will return to the top level if he is professional. After difficult years for him, the recovery will be key to returning to the top.

"Gradually we will try to help him become stronger. Four goals in the first two Ligue 1 matches? No, I was not expecting it."

The win over their neighbours saw Nice leapfrog Monaco at the top of the standings.

Favre is thrilled with his side's start to the season but accepted they were flattered by the scoreline.

He said: "W e played well from the start. We scored at important moments. We are all happy.

"Fourteen points is very good. We see that everything is possible in the league. But i t must be noted that the 4-0 is severe. Do not remember the score. They dominated us for a while. But in the end it's still 4-0 with magnificent goals."

To compound Monaco's miserable night, striker Radamel Falcao had to be taken to hospital after being caught between Nice goalkeeper Yoan Cardinale and Baysse in first-half stoppage time.

Defender Andrea Raggi felt Monaco paid for sloppiness at the back.

He said on the club website: "I apologise to our supporters because when you lose a derby it's always hard.

"It was two gifts for Nice for the first two goals. Conceding two goals like that makes it a difficult game. Mario Balotelli is a great player. This is indisputable.

"Saturday we have another home game. We lost a battle but the war is still very long."