Thursday March 22 2018
Di Biagio: 'Italy must look forward'

Interim Italy Coach Gigi Di Biagio is too busy to feel nervous ahead of his debut against Argentina, but focused on “looking forward.”

The Under-21 boss has been put in charge of the senior squad for friendlies against Argentina tomorrow evening and England at Wembley on Tuesday.

“For the moment I don’t feel nervous, maybe I will tomorrow. I’ve got too much to do and don’t realise what’s happening,” said Di Biagio in his Press conference.

“The lads are relaxed, as we’ve worked well over the last few days. It’ll be an important evening for me, but while everything around it might’ve changed – a lot – the way I work hasn’t.”

Di Biagio is at the helm because the FIGC has not yet found a new Coach after sacking Gianpiero Ventura for failing World Cup qualification.

“We need to find the right enthusiasm again quickly, to cancel out what happened in the past and prepare for this mini-World Cup. The next four friendly games can represent a little World Cup for us.

“We’ll use a 4-3-3 formation, but it could change. It’s a difficult match, but we have to try our best without fear of what we are facing.

“We must seek new challenges and in that sense taking on Argentina is an easy task for a Coach to prepare. We are forced to look forward and not look back over our shoulders. I too have had difficult moments, but it’s not possible to rebuild without going forward.

“These games are fundamental to understand, on an international stage, what level some young players are at. There are 20-year-olds in the side, but also older ones who don’t have much experience.”

Jorge Sampaoli left out Paulo Dybala and Mauro Icardi, but said he wanted Mario Balotelli in his squad, a player snubbed by Di Biagio.

“Sampaoli did very well to talk about Balotelli, as he is a very good player, but then I have choices to make. I’ve known (agent Mino) Raiola for 25 years, but what he said is irrelevant.

“Argentina have many options in attack, we have fewer, but I’m very happy with our team. I have no need to look at who other Coaches have in their squads.”

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