Cesare Prandelli admits he was “surprised” by the extent of Italy’s defeat to Russia and will take action. “We’ll change the defence and start from scratch.”
The Coach had tried to be reassuring after the 3-0 friendly loss in Zurich on Friday evening, but after 24 hours confessed it was a heavy blow.
“It’s better to suffer a defeat that puts our feet back on the ground. Russia are ready for Euro 2012, but we are not. We haven’t got much time and will use it to be prepared for June 10 against Spain,” said Prandelli.
The failure of the 4-3-1-2 system has led many to suggest Italy switch to a 3-5-2 in the style of Juventus.
“You could see the fragility of the team when we went behind and I was surprised by the defence. I am forced to try something, even if I haven’t got much time, to give some security at the back.
“It’s true we only conceded two goals in qualifying, but that was eight months ago. Now we have to work with what the lads know.
“I realise it’s difficult to find something positive to say when you lose 3-0, but in the first half we held out well against a very physical side that is ahead of us in terms of fitness.
“In the first 12 minutes of the second half we also took the initiative and had a great chance to take the lead.
“After conceding the opener, it was as if we collapsed. We’ve got to figure out if this is a psychological or physical issue. When Russia had the ball wide, we were under serious pressure.
“Obviously all the players were upset, but we all said it was better to lose in a friendly so we could begin again. Some suggested we were even favourites, but we need to get back to fighting for every ball. That’s what we said to each other in the locker room: wipe the slate clean and start from scratch.
“I had the complete squad at my disposal for only four days and in eight months this was the second game we’d played.”
On top of these problems, Prandelli and his squad have also had to deal with the betting scandal and a dawn police raid on the Coverciano training ground to serve Domenico Criscito with a notice of investigation.
“How difficult is it to play with the atmosphere around the Nazionale? It’s difficult, but you’ll see that soon Italy will be talked about only for its football.”