Mario Balotelli praises AC Milan "character"

AC Milan Mario Balotelli (R) celebrates with teammate forwad Stephan el Shaarawy after scoring a free kick during the Serie A football match Livorno vs AC Milan at the Armando Picchi stadium in Livorno on December 7, 2013
© Getty Images
Mario Balotelli says that AC Milan had to defend solidly against Ajax in the Champions League.

AC Milan striker Mario Balotelli has insisted that the side showed a lot of "character" to reach the second round of the Champions League.

The Serie A side finished second in Group H behind Barcelona, courtesy of an edgy 0-0 draw at home against Ajax on the final matchday.

"We had to go through a lot, especially after Riccardo Montolivo was sent off," he told UEFA.com. "We had to defend and we showed great character. Today it was difficult to score and the only way to get the result was to defend well.

"It depends from game to game, but today we were forced to defend with 10 men - we are a good group and we are showing it in every game. It was a very good duel today. Other Italian teams could have progressed, I am sorry for them, but I am happy for us. We have done well in Europe but now we must do well in the domestic league."

In Serie A, Milan have struggled so far and find themselves in ninth.

AC Milan's midfielder Riccardo Montolivo fights for the ball with Ajax's midfielder Davy Klaassen during the group H Champions League football match AC Milan vs Ajax, on December 11, 2013
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2AC Milan00000000
3Atalanta BCAtalanta00000000
4BeneventoBenevento00000000
5Bologna00000000
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7Crotone00000000
8Fiorentina00000000
9Genoa00000000
10Hellas VeronaHellas Verona00000000
11Inter Milan00000000
12Juventus00000000
13Lazio00000000
14Napoli00000000
15Roma00000000
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17Sampdoria00000000
18SassuoloSassuolo00000000
19Torino00000000
20Udinese00000000
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