AC Milan captain Riccardo Montolivo says his club coach Massimiliano Allegri was right to ruffle the feathers of Mario Balotelli.
The former Manchester City forward has suffered a dip in form this season and was consequently left on the bench in recent games by Allegri, who insists his No. 45 does not warrant any preferential treatment.
Montolivo concurs and believes Balotelli will emerge stronger from a rough patch the whole of the Milan team are currently going through.
"The coach has never made any exceptions -- if he thinks something, he says it, and so he does the same when it comes to Mario," Montolivo said at a news conference.
"Criticism is made to make you improve and it's right to criticise if it's necessary. Mario looks serene to me and I can't see any big difference to how he is at Milan. He's not particularly on edge, but I don't fear losing him.
"People are always trying to exaggerate things when it comes to him. Either we have to sell him, or he should be winning the Ballon d'Or. We all know what Mario's true value is. He's thick-skinned and knows there are both positive and negative times, that you get lots of praise and lots of criticism and I don't think he's particularly stressed.
"All of us at Milan know what situation we're in and we're doing all we can to get out of it."
In spite of his club form, Balotelli is expected to start for Italy against Germany on Friday night with national team coach Cesare Prandelli naming him as his first-choice striker, although his designated partner Giuseppe Rossi is set to miss out due to a virus. Southampton forward Pablo Osvaldo is therefore likely to play alongside the Milan striker at the San Siro.