Super Mario lifts weary Milan past Palermo

Posted by Sumeet Paul

Tullio M. Puglia/Getty ImagesMario Balotelli has certainly been a bolt for the Milan offense, with seven goals in six games since his arrival from Manchester City.

There are tougher tests ahead, but Milan secured a crucial win on Sunday as they defeated Palermo 2-0 at the San Siro. Mario Balotelli was once again the goal-scoring hero, taking his tally to seven goals in six games for the Rossoneri.

- Video: AC Milan 2-0 Palermo (UK and Ireland)
- Serie A: Napoli, Milan and Fiorentina all win

Following the midweek thrashing in Spain, it was vitally important Milan recover quickly in order to maintain their league momentum. Sunday's result means the Rossoneri have now gone 11 games unbeaten, winning eight and drawing three, as they sustain the pressure on those around them in the Serie A table.

It was far from being one of the better performances this season, but Massimiliano Allegri has installed within his squad the ability to win without playing particularly well. It is a welcome trait, and one that will continue to help build the players' character and qualities going forward.

However, as has become a regular feature of their domestic play, it was Balotelli who produced the goals to set them on the path to victory. Having preserved his incredible perfect record from the penalty spot in the first half, Super Mario was gifted a second after the break during a period of play where Palermo were looking dangerous.

Allegri was pleased with the win considering the circumstances, and it was a sign of maturity he and the club had learned from last year's mistakes.

Last season Milan saw their title bid falter after a Champions League defeat to Barcelona, which was followed by a loss to Fiorentina at San Siro. Under similar circumstances this year -- albeit with different objectives -- the win ensured they remain in third place, still just two points behind Napoli and three ahead of Fiorentina.

"We won, which was the important thing. It went badly in Barcelona, but we have recovered. We will catch Napoli next week. We must continue working as a squad," Balotelli told Sky Sport Italia after the game.

Balotelli quipped that Milan might have lost 8-0 had he been playing at the Camp Nou, but admitted that the Rossoneri had been unlucky, as there are many champions in the team.

It is difficult to disagree with him. There were a handful of solid if not brilliant performances across the pitch, provided by the likes of Mattia De Sciglio and the midfield trio, who battled well.

However, Balotelli rightly received the highest of praise from Allegri.

“I think this is an important opportunity for Balotelli, as for the first time he is playing as a protagonist in a team full of youngsters," Allegri said. "He is relaxed and an excellent professional."

Allegri also had a few words of support for Stephan El Shaarawy, as the media picked up on him heading straight to the dressing room after being substituted in the 58th minute, replaced by M'baye Niang. Milan’s coach said that the youngster “needs to relax” as his performances are still of high quality, and his contribution to the team is still important regardless of goals.

The upcoming international break will come as an unwelcome interruption as Milan look to extend their unbeaten run, but it will provide the players with a chance to re-gather themselves for the final stretch.

However, for now it's another weekend and another win. Long may it continue.

Who was your man of the match against Palermo? How impressed have you been with Balotelli since his arrival, and what is your opinion on El Shaarawy?

For all the latest news and views on Milan and Serie A, you can follow me on Twitter @italiafooty

ESPN Conversations