NEWS
Wednesday May 9 2012
Loyal Prandelli cools expectations

Italy boss Cesare Prandelli has committed his future to the national side, but played down the Azzurri’s chances of Euro 2012 glory.

Prandelli still has another two years to run on his contract, but his admission that he misses the day-to-day life of club football has seen him linked with a summer exit.

“I have a contract with the Federation up until June 2014 and I intend to respect it,” he told the Corriere della Sera.

“I want to continue even if I am aware that the future of Coaches is dependant on results.”

The Azzurri breezed through qualification, but they won’t start as favourites for glory in Poland and Ukraine.

Especially after they lost Villarreal striker Giuseppe Rossi to injury and Antonio Cassano of Milan has just returned to action following heart surgery.

“Our potential has been decreased by 50 per cent, but I’m not worried and I’ll have to improvise,” he added.

“Our desire to surprise has to be stronger than our difficulties. We shouldn’t forget that you can find some nice surprises in the most difficult moments.

“We have the time to prepare for our first game against Spain. Even if the fact that Barcelona and Real Madrid didn’t make the Champions League Final makes Spain more dangerous.

“Croatia are a tough team too, with a very competitive midfield and attack. They’ll be a hard obstacle to get over. Then there is Giovanni Trapattoni’s Ireland.”

Prandelli will name a preliminary 30-man squad on Sunday before having to select his final 23-man party.

“There won’t be any surprises in the call-ups, just a logical continuity. It’s better to look for players like Roma’s Fabio Borini, youngsters with quality and a future.”

The former Fiorentina tactician has intimated that Cassano, veteran Antonio Di Natale of Udinese and Manchester City enigma Mario Balotelli will be included.

“Cassano has proved that he loves the national shirt and he did all that he could to recover full fitness as soon as possible. He put pressure on the medics so that he could return to give us a helping hand.

“I’ll challenge anyone to argue that Toto Di Natale doesn’t deserve the national side. He’s scored almost 100 goals in three years and he can help us.

“Balotelli? We have to give players with talent an extra chance and he isn’t lacking talent. He can’t make any more mistakes and I’m sure he won’t.”

Prandelli was also asked about the prospect of using Juventus players as the base for his Italian national side given their success this term.

“The truth is that Juventus are the only club to have invested in Italian players. Juve have won thanks to hard work and the Bianconeri are a great advert for Italian football.”

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