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Prandelli urges Balotelli to change his ways

19 June 2013 15:52

Cesare Prandelli wants Mario Balotelli to stop being a misfit and become a role model for others in the Italy squad.

Balotelli was sent off in Italy's recent FIFA World Cup qualifier with Czech Republic, the sixth red card of his career, but showed his importance to the team by scoring the winner against Mexico in their FIFA Confederations Cup clash, and Prandelli wants to see more positives from the striker in the future.

"Against Mexico Balotelli was tough to handle for the opposition defence, his strength and movement causing all kinds of problems and on another day he may have scored more than the one goal he got," he said.

"Jose Corona made some good saves from the Milan forward but could do nothing as he brushed off the presence of Francisco Rodrgiuez to poke an Emanuele Giaccherini flick into the back of the net.

He picked up a yellow card for removing his shirt in celebration, something that made Prandelli substitute the 22-year-old to ensure that he did not pick up a second booking in the remaining 12 minutes.

However, when he was dismissed in Prague Balotelli was also seen punching and kicking a wall in a fit of rage, and it is that side of his game that Prandelli does not want to see rear its ugly head again.

"Mario can be an example with his behaviour, although he has to improve it a bit," he said. "It's always difficult as you never know what he's up to.

"I think the Maglia Azzurra (blue Italian shirt) is motivating him, he found a group of players who won in the past, who want to win again and who always give the best for the team. This situation can help him grow. We've said many times he's got great potential and we can put him in the best conditions, but he needs to also give his contribution."

Italy know that victory over Japan in their second Group A match will see them qualify for the semi-finals of the Confederations Cup but their 55-year-old coach is not taking anything for granted.

"As for Japan, it's a team we fear: they have a great coach who can get the most out of his players and knows how to give balance to his teams," he added. "He coaches a group of very focused and committed players. It's an interesting mix. This is a different game and we have to prepare it well as we did against Mexico."

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