Nice midfielder Wylen Cyprien believes sitting on the bench against Saint-Etienne may be just the rest Mario Balotelli needed to be fresh for their next game.
Cyprien netted a stunning winner for Nice as they beat Saint-Etienne 1-0 on Wednesday, while Balotelli looked on from the bench before being introduced late in the game.
"It's a week where there are three matches — I think he needed to take a breather for a bit," Cyprien told L'Equipe.
"It's the decision of the coach. If it's to rest him so that he's fresh against Rennes [on Sunday] and he scores a goal for us there, then it's perfect coaching."
Nice manager Lucien Favre explained that he felt the former Liverpool and Manchester City striker needed some rest to get back to his top form.
"He's played a lot the last few weeks," Favre was quoted as saying by RMC.
"And that's it. It's one match, and we already have to move on to the next one.
"I'm counting on him for the end of the season. Things move quickly in football. I believe in him 100 percent."