Arrigo Sacchi criticised Italy for their performance against Poland, singling out Mario Balotelli as an example of lacking “intelligence.”
The Azzurri recovered from a Piotr Zielinski opener with a Jorginho penalty for the 1-1 Nations League opener and will face Portugal in Lisbon on Monday evening.
“I’d say that it’s a team sport. You need only a few ideas in football, but they have to be clear,” Sacchi told Radio Deejay.
“Football is about the collective and intelligence counts more than your feet. So first and foremost, I’d choose players who have intelligence.
“You need players who are generous, passionate, professional. Everyone has a car, but you need fuel to make it move and in football that fuel is intelligence, passion and professionalism.
“Let’s just say that having the concept of team spirit is a strong start to making you a worthy person.
“When Balotelli wanders around by himself and doesn’t even attempt to stick to the plan, what are you supposed to say to him?”
While Italy drew their Nations League opener, the Under-21 side were beaten 3-0 by Slovakia in a friendly.
“The attitude of the Under-21s was shameful. They were presumptuous and arrogant. Often in football, the real enemies are not the opponents, but ourselves.
“This is a country where we’d gladly sell our souls to win, making no difference between a deserved or undeserved victory. We don’t realise that a victory without being earned will not get you very far.”