Tuesday January 21 2014
‘Cassano in line for Italy’

Roberto Donadoni has backed Antonio Cassano to make the World Cup, whilst he has affirmed that he isn’t looking to avenge critics of his work.

Cassano was reinstated to Parma’s squad last weekend after a brief falling out with the club, having tried to force an exit during the January transfer window.

However, on from that return to the first-team picture, coupled with a goal scored, his Coach has backed him to be in the running for Cesare Prandelli’s Italy squad come the summer.

“There is no getting around it. He knows that if he continues to score and to play at this level, he will not go unnoticed,” Donadoni has considered to the Gazzetta dello Sport today.

“But now it is early, indeed counterproductive, to approach this subject. Let him be calm and we will talk again in two months.

“Who has been good at handling this situation? Not me, his teammates were good - thanks to them it has not created any tension in the group.”

Donadoni was asked of the January transfer window and the disruptive element it can have on teams such as his Parma.

“I find it absurd, certain voices disrupt, prevent us from working well, and that is for Coaches as well as players. Am I afraid of losing someone? I do not live on the moon, things happen and if there is an agreement between the club and the technical staff, it will never be without my knowledge.

“They are sometimes painful choices, it is not an easy period for anyone. Selfishly, as a Coach, I would like to keep them all with me. Parolo and Paletta? They will remain here.”

The 50-year-old was asked about Alessandro Lucarelli’s Indian summer, where he has matched a return to scoring form with strong performances in the Ducali’s defence.

“Age does not matter, the important thing is to always play. At 36 you can improve the ability to read certain situation, for example how to handle possession of the ball.

“Lucarelli has always scored goals, now that he is in top condition he is doing everything well.”

Donadoni was asked of his current work with Parma and if it acts as an answer to critics who have followed him since a difficult spell in charge of the national team.

“Every Coach brings forth his philosophy, his way of working and the team reflects the character of the one guiding them.

“The environment helps - Parma appreciate proactive football. Where can we go? The goal is to finish in seventh place, to do better than last year.

“Juventus are the strongest, just look at who is on their bench. Seedorf, meanwhile, cannot solve Milan’s crisis in just a few days.

“It makes me laugh to see those who say he has no experience. Unless he begins, how and where will he find that experience?

“Do I have a few pebbles in my shoe? I am not someone who looks for revenge, I do not measure myself against anyone.

“I know now that when things go well, those who speak ill of me stay quiet, but I also know they are waiting for me at the gate.

“Criticism when with the national team, though? It makes me laugh, this. I did not become CT out of the blue, I had already worked in different teams.

“It was a special moment and from that experience I have taken great motivation. I accept the criticism and forget that which is uncalled for.”

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