Cesare Prandelli conceded it was not Italy’s finest hour, but praised Gigi Buffon and warned they were “lacking in intensity” in Malta.
Mario Balotelli scored both goals in the 2-0 World Cup qualifying victory , but Buffon had to save a penalty in the first half.
“We knew there would not be spaces and were perhaps a little too slow in construction, so ran into trouble. We still maintained possession throughout the game. We lacked a bit of intensity in the finishing,” noted the Coach.
“We were too distant between defenders and midfielders, so the passes got misplaced. It may seem absurd, but the wind affected the long passes too.
“We did some things well, others not so well. We must learn from this that against clammed-up teams we have to pass the ball short and quick.”
The Italy get-together concludes after this win and a thrilling 2-2 friendly draw with Brazil.
“We take away an excellent performance against Brazil and these three points. When there are no spaces and a team is very organised, we must learn to be quicker in our build-up.”
Not only did Buffon save the penalty, but he did it on the day he became the second all-time Italy representative with 126 caps.
“Buffon marked this landmark like a captain with a great save at the crucial moment,” added Prandelli.
“Balotelli is going to have to get used to being provoked and must maintain his calm, as he did today.”