AC Milan coach Massimo Allegri has no fears about losing Mario Balotelli amid fresh transfer speculation, although he admits his own job is hanging in the balance.
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Chelsea appear keen to reunite Balotelli with his former coach at Inter Milan, Jose Mourinho, and following remarks from the player’s agent Mino Raiola recently -- claiming his client may be forced to leave Italy if the negative headlines persist -- speculation linking the Italy international with a departure as early as January has gathered momentum.
Allegri was critical of Balotelli’s performance during Milan's 3-2 defeat against Parma at the weekend, but insists he will lead the line against Lazio on Wednesday night, and that he will still be in a Rossoneri shirt in 2014.
"He’s not going anywhere in January," Allegri said at a news conference. "When he arrived here, he scored 12 goals in 13 games and he was important at the start of the year. It happens to play badly, but it seems when it happens to Balotelli, it all gets blown out of proportion.
"Mario’s trained well and he just needs to be left in peace and judged like all of the players for what he does on the field. He didn’t play well in Parma, so I took him off. Mario needs to learn how to control his own nervous energy because he’s a personality in the media spotlight."
Allegri's future at the club is also under intense scutiny and, as he knows all too well, being judged by what his team is doing on the field. With 11 points from the first nine games of the season, he is aware that the impression is not a good one.
"Since I’m coach of a big club, I have to take all the responsibility and I think it’s only normal that my job is at risk, considering we are not getting the results," Allegri said. "So it’s only right that my position is up for discussion, but I believe in the lads and I’m convinced that Milan will get through this period and will have a great season.
"Besides, I’ve got a job to finish which I started last season."