Montolivo: Milan can cope without Balotelli

goal :    Riccardo Montolivo has moved to downplay the significance of Mario Balotelli’s suspension in terms of AC Milan’s Champions League aspirations, arguing that the Rossoneri proved long before the striker’s arrival at San Siro that they are a quality side.

Balotelli was hit with a mandatory one-game ban after picking up his fifth booking of the season in last weekend’s draw at Fiorentina but he was further reprimanded for using offensive language towards the officials at the Artemio Franchi.

The enigmatic but prolific striker will now miss Milan’s crucial Serie A clash with second-placed Napoli on Sunday, as well as their subsequent clashes with Juventus and Cagliari, but Montolivo is in no doubt that Massimiliano Allegri’s resurgent side can cope.