Nice striker Mario Balotelli will benefit from being on bench - Wylan Cyprien

Nice midfielder Wylan Cyprien has said he believes Mario Balotelli will benefit from being left on the bench for the 1-0 win over Saint-Etienne.

Cyprien, 22, who scored the only goal of Wednesday's game, suggested that although Balotelli was not too pleased to have been left out the rest would give him a boost.

The former AC Milan, Liverpool and Manchester City striker came on as a late substitute as Nice picked up only a second win in seven matches to stay three points behind leaders Monaco.

"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."

Balotelli has scored nine league goals since joining Nice but has not found the net since December as the team have slipped from top to third in Ligue 1.

On Wednesday, Nice coach Lucien Favre said he felt Balotelli was "lacking something" physically.

"He's played a lot the last few weeks," Favre was quoted as saying by RMC, adding that the decision to put him on the bench had been "a feeling -- an intuition."

He said: "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."