NEWS
Tuesday March 4 2014
Prandelli: 'No ordinary friendly'

Cesare Prandelli vented his frustration at “pointless controversy” and warned Spain-Italy “is no ordinary friendly.”

The Coach spoke at his Press conference ahead of Wednesday’s international friendly, which kicks off in Madrid at 21.00 GMT.

“Our energy should be directed towards the squad and the project for the World Cup, not in pointless controversy,” he grimaced.

“I already feel wiped out.”

He was referring to Juventus complaints that he called Giorgio Chiellini without checking on his fitness levels, while there were also questions about the ‘code of ethics’ reason for dropping Daniele De Rossi after his three-match ban for punching Mauro Icardi.

“Will the code of ethics still apply if it’s on the last day of the season? I doubt any of the top players would risk such a silly gesture.”

Prandelli, whose contract is up after the World Cup and is not yet sure whether to renew or walk away, seemed frustrated with the situation.

“We all know that we are preparing for an extraordinary competition and when the World Cup begins everyone will be Italian, waving their little flags. It’s all to be expected.

“As for my future, the matter is open, but we have not yet made any decisions.”

It had been reported Prandelli was eager to scrap this friendly against Spain.

“Spain are World and European Champions, so we run many risks, but these are games that can give us a boost in terms of growth and character.

“I will ask the lads to bring out the best that they can give. We must have character to attack them with many players all over the field and counter them move for move.

“If we were to focus on defence and counter-attack for 90 minutes, it would be a game of suffering. Our objective for tomorrow is to keep a high line.

“I say Spain are favourites to win the World Cup along with Argentina and Germany.”

Ciro Immobile, Gabriel Paletta and Mattia Perin received their maiden senior Italy call-ups, while Roma striker Mattia Destro returned from a long absence.

“You can see the real players in moments of difficulties. This is no ordinary friendly, so tomorrow I will evaluate the growth of for example Alessio Cerci, who will be playing from the start.

“Oriundi are important, as for me they are new Italians. I will also tell you a statistic: in the latest Serie A round only 38 per cent of the players were Italian.

“As for the system, there is time for experiments, but my plan is to play with four midfielders and two forwards.”

The Coach was asked whether he was concerned with the fitness levels of the players going into the World Cup.

“If we really need to worry, then it’ll be in April after the physical tests. I have faith, though. I am waiting for Giuseppe Rossi, but there will be no additional time added on. To be part of the expedition to Brazil he’ll have to play a few games before the tests, otherwise it’ll be tough."

Think you know your Italian football? Share your knowledge, tips and comments to win cash prizes in OLBG's World Cup tipster competition - £10,000 to be won!

FOOTBALL ITALIA RELATED NEWS

TODAY'S FRONT PAGES