Watford manager Gianfranco Zola praised Cesare Prandelli’s Azzurri and explained the “stress and pressure” are completely different between English and Italian football.
The former Parma, Napoli, Cagliari and Chelsea star is now working for the Pozzo family, who own Udinese and Watford.
He sat down with La Gazzetta dello Sport to discuss the differences between working in Italy and England.
“Aside from money, the culture mix works on different levels because there is no stress here. There is zero pressure, no problems dealing with the fans or media, yet there is no lack of motivation or ambition,” said Zola.
“The truth is that ideas can be translated better on to the field if you are not constantly on trial. A relaxed environment produces better performances. It’s not just me saying this, as the athletic tests prove it.
“Italy needs a new mentality and I think Prandelli’s Nazionale is pointing in the right direction. It’s not easy to match results with good football, but Prandelli is achieving that.
“When he was first appointed, I said it was an impeccable choice, but to be honest I didn’t expect the international success to be so consistent so quickly. He has the right approach and I’ve been truly stunned by Cesare’s Italy.”
Zola also cast his eye over the Serie A scene, where Juventus are the runaway leaders on their way to a second consecutive Scudetto.
“I was convinced Juve would win again, as they were the favourites pre-season with an intelligently-assembled squad. They deserve great respect, but I didn’t think they’d win the title so easily.
“In all honesty, I expected more from their rivals. I thought the others would’ve been able to make life a bit more difficult for them, but instead they disappointed me.”