Alberto Aquilani insisted the 0-0 draw with the Czech Republic “was not such a poor performance.”
Italy maintained their unbeaten record in World Cup qualifying with the draw in Prague last night, in which Mario Balotelli saw red.
“It was a complicated match, especially down to 10 men, so I don’t think the point should be thrown away,” Aquilani told Rai Sport.
“I only came on for the final 13 minutes and tried to give my all. The Czech Republic were fighting for their football lives in a fiery stadium and it was tough.
“I didn’t see it as such a poor performance, but in June some players are certainly going to be tired.”
The Azzurri are four points clear at the top of Group B, leading Bulgaria and the Czech Republic.
Fiorentina star Aquilani came on to replace Andrea Pirlo, but has been used in several different roles for his country.
“I am happy to be playing, regardless of the position. I am pleased that I’m considered versatile in midfield.”
Think you know your Italian football? Share your knowledge, tips and comments to win cash prizes in OLBG's tipster competition - £5,000 monthly.