THIAGO MOTTA says Mario Balotelli will be influential for Italy at Euro 2012.
Paris St Germain midfielder Motta knows what to expect from Balotelli, the pair were Inter Milan team-mates in the 2009-10 season.
He reckons the Manchester City striker could have a big role to play in Poland and Ukraine.
"We need Balotelli to work for the team, and to show responsibility," Motta said ahead of Italy's opener against Spain on Sunday.
"Only then can he make the difference, and I'm sure he will. He must help us, especially on the pitch. Off it, he can be the same as always.
"Balotelli makes me just as angry now with his jokes as he did when he was at Inter. But away from the pitch he is a good lad."
Motta, meanwhile, accepts the Italy squad need to regroup, having endured a difficult time recently.
A match-fixing scandal disrupted their build-up, with coach Cesare Prandelli forced to drop defender Domenico Criscito from the squad as he is under investigation.
The recent 3-0 defeat to Russia, Italy's last test ahead of the Euros, was their third straight friendly loss.
"It's normal after three straight defeats you are worried," Motta said.