Marcello Lippi trusts Antonio Conte can succeed on the Italy bench. “He has my same hunger for victory.”
The World Cup winning Coach is now in China at the helm of club side Guangzhou Evergrande, but believes the Azzurri are in safe hands.
“All the best Coaches aim for the Nazionale, even if the younger ones feel they can still train clubs for a few more years first,” Lippi told La Gazzetta dello Sport.
“Here there was a happy coming together of different factors: Conte’s exit from Juventus and the Italy bench free, so here is Antonio.
“In the Federation they really wanted a Coach who could shake up the environment, as it really needs this now.
“They signed the best, also thanks to the aid of a sponsor.”
There has been controversy in Italy on Conte’s wages during a time of economic crisis in the country, even though part of it has been covered by kit sponsors Puma and his image rights.
“What advice do I give Conte? Do not change even a jot from your attitude that took you to achieve such incredible results with Juve. Be the same man. Be Conte in the Nazionale too.”
Going from Juventus to the Azzurri has prompted many to see comparisons between Conte and his mentor Lippi, as he was an integral cog in that all-conquering Juventus midfield.
“It’s not right to compare,” said the 2006 World Cup victor. “I was 56 years old when I took charge of Italy and was coming off a double era with Juve where I won everything.
“He becomes the Italy Coach when 10 years younger. I am not saying he’s just started out, but he does have a long career ahead of him. I just hope he gets the same results.”