Mario Balotelli is "a lot better than last season" but remains "a work in progress" Nice coach Lucien Favre has said after seeing his star forward strike twice in Tuesday's derby draw with AS Monaco.
Balotelli scored both Nice goals in the 2-2 draw at the Stade Louis II to take his tally for the Ligue 1 season to 12 in just 13 starts.
He is now just three goals short of his 2016-17 total, which was a career-best for a single campaign, and means the former Liverpool and Manchester City strike now has 27 goals in 38 league appearances for Nice.
That equals the mark he reached for AC Milan in 63 Serie A matches, and means he is likely to establish a new career-best at a single club with Nice in the remainder of the Ligue 1 Conforama season.
Favre singled out his star forward for praise after his performance in the principality, but noted that there is still room for improvement.
"Mario is playing a lot better than last season. This was his first start since the game against Bordeaux in mid-December, and he scored in that game too. Mario is coming back from very very far given how he has performed in recent years. He's still a work in progress. But his improvement can continue, that's great.
"It's up to him to help himself and for us to help him. He is putting in the effort, and I think he could do more in getting himself away from his markers. Mario will never be a player who'll run back 60m to defend, but that's not what we ask of him over 90 minutes."