Andrea Barzagli made tactical considerations after Italy’s 2-2 draw with Bulgaria. “We did not play the game we wanted to.”
The Azzurri opened their World Cup qualifying campaign with a stalemate in Sofia on Friday evening.
“Considering we ended up with 10 men, it was a decent point to take home. We did not play the game we wanted to and were a little slow,” he said referring to Daniele De Rossi’s injury after the substitutions had been completed.
“Once we started doing what we ought to, we quickly scored two goals, but then went deep after the break and played into Bulgaria’s hands. We could’ve scored a third, but so could they, so it is a fair result.
“We knew the difficulties we could face here, but once you are on the field it all changes even if you are prepared. Now we can start again knowing we can certainly do better than this.”
Italy started with the 3-5-2 system, but conceded the final goal within minutes of changing to a 4-3-1-2.
“It often happened that we had to make a few more passes to find space, as they closed up. We tried the long ball and that resulted in losing possession too much. We should’ve tried the passing move a lot more,” continued Barzagli.
“It was a coincidence that the equaliser arrived straight after the substitution. We were having a difficult moment anyway and still adjusting to the new tactic when they scored.”
The Azzurri seemed very fragile when defending from free kicks and corners.
“We were zonal marking some set pieces and man-marking others. Buffon performed two great saves, but we all know Gigi makes the difference.
“At times we were a little too stretched out and struggled, especially as Bulgaria repeatedly tried to hit us on the counter-attack when we made mistakes. We could’ve done better.”
Their World Cup qualifying campaign continues against Malta on Tuesday.
“We must immediately shake ourselves up and prove Italy are back, even if not everything was a total disaster tonight.”
Angelo Ogbonna got his first competitive start against Bulgaria, having been tested against England.
“He did well, but then at a certain point was under pressure like all of us. He has great character, as for his age it’s remarkable to be so cool and collected. World Cup qualifiers are completely different to friendlies.”
Think you know your Italian football? Share your knowledge, tips and comments to win cash prizes in OLBG's tipster competition - £11,000 to be won monthly!