Claudio Marchisio rued a bad start against Argentina and outlined what Italy need to be ready for the World Cup.
“Argentina have a lot of quality and great players who weren’t even here like Leo Messi,” he told RAI Sport after a 2-1 friendly defeat in Rome.
“At times in the first and second half we could’ve put them under a lot more pressure if we had put more grit into it.
“You could see in the opening stages we weren’t in the right position and Argentina were able to pass back to their goalkeeper fairly easily. The goal woke us up and from that point we pressured them higher in midfield to create some important opportunities.
“Unfortunately we kept getting caught out on the counter-attack. We know that we have to improve and have a year to work on that.
“We have also learned that physical fitness is key in those summer tournaments, so you have to be in the right shape at the right time.
“I had a good chance to score and knew I was too close to hit it hard, so I tried to scuff it in, but it went across the face of goal.”
Marco Verratti played in midfield instead of Marchisio’s Juventus teammate Andrea Pirlo, as Cesare Prandelli is working on alternatives.
“Of course Pirlo is a champion, nobody needs to point that out. Verratti is a young lad with great quality and will certainly grow, but we have to give him time to develop.”