The day after Italy's record-breaking draw with Serbia, Cesare Prandelli asked for “less praise and more criticism.”
The Azzurri stretched their unbeaten run to nine games and 715 minutes of football, beating the previous best set by Cesare Maldini in qualification for a European Championship or World Cup.
“Too much praise is embarrassing, as I never quite know how to respond. I prefer criticism because, touch wood, every time we receive a compliment then something tends to go wrong,” joked Prandelli in today's Press conference.
“Criticism is also more suitable at this moment. I don't know if there isn't much enthusiasm around the Nazionale, but in any case it's better to store it up for Euro 2012.”
Last night's 1-1 draw in Belgrade confirmed their unbeaten status after nine games and saw Italy concede their first goal since the opening match in Estonia.
“We held out well under pressure and it's something we'll have to do again in future. Last night's game confirmed this side has great character. Nobody wants to lose, nor play badly or get criticised.”
The final Euro 2012 qualifier is on Tuesday at Pescara's Stadio Adriatico against Northern Ireland.
“I believe Sebastian Giovinco will start and we could use Pablo Daniel Osvaldo. Considering how things are going in Italy, I'm not surprised by the controversy over Osvaldo's call-up. I confirm he is a player of real character, technique and stamina. I rate him very highly.
“The tactical approach will stay the same. At the start of this adventure we said that we wanted to amaze, proposing an idea of football that is usually not associated with the Nazionale.
“I am confident we are on the right track, which is the path of good football. It wasn't difficult to convince the veterans of this new approach. When we met up that first time, we discussed wanting to amaze others and ourselves.
“Everyone said the Nazionale couldn't have its own identity or tactical plan, but we set out to prove we could do it.”
Claudio Marchisio scored in the opening minute against Serbia, earning further comparisons with legend Marco Tardelli.
“Without doubt he resembles Tardelli,” noted Prandelli. “Claudio has great power, has defined himself in his role and what's more has a very valuable quality for a midfielder – he can sense the penalty area. Marchisio has broken through now.”
Italy are already in the Euro 2012 finals and Dejan Stankovic suggested they were among the top three in the world.
“I only hope he's not wrong. Germany, Spain and Holland are the favourites, but the European Championship often brings up surprises. We're taking it one step at a time.”