Emanuele Giaccherini warned Italy needed to keep the tempo up after a 2-2 draw with Nigeria and is “happy” at Sunderland.
The winger netted his third Azzurri goal in tonight’s friendly at Craven Cottage. Click here to watch highlights of Italy-Nigeria.
“I am happy with my performance, but also that of the team, as today in our best moment we conceded two quick goals from Nigeria that rather shook us up. We kept playing in the second half and certainly could’ve won this game,” he told Rai Sport.
“After taking the lead we kept possession just to slow down the tempo, whereas we should’ve kept the tempo up and tried to score a second. Perhaps that was why we ended up going behind.
“At half-time the Coach told us we had to continue like this, but to keep up the tempo and not keep possession just for the sake of it.”
Giuseppe Rossi was also on target for the first time since June 2011 and finally got to partner Mario Balotelli.
“They are two world class forwards and we have a lot of quality in attack, but they do make a well-suited pair.
“Mario is an important player for us, can make the difference by himself in attack, so we try in every way to help him. That includes reassuring him and working all together when things aren’t going well. He is part of the group and we’ll always try to help him.”
Giaccherini moved to Sunderland over the summer and is forging a new chapter of his career in England.
“I am happy. I came here with a lot of enthusiasm and hope to keep doing well here. I keep looking towards the dream that is the World Cup, though of course I have to earn it. Of course I miss Italy and every time I return it is a joy.
“I spoke to Antonio Conte after the move. He said he was very sad and so was I, as in two years I achieved so much at Juventus. I still cheer them on.
“We were eager to do well, as the Coach fielded a different side from the one that drew with Germany. I think that when the important appointments arrive, Italy will show up – as we always do.”
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!