Luigi Di Biagio insists he did not fail Italy’s Under-21 team after stepping down. “If Romania had won yesterday, you’d have all told me that I was the best...”
Di Biagio announced his resignation at a Press conference on Tuesday morning, but the CT also took the opportunity to defend his record.
“We must separate our results of the last few years from what happened at this European Championship,” he explained.
“I’d say that a great job has been done: we’ve brought through many young lads, we’ve shown to be competitive and so many have gone up to the seniors.
“Then there are the sore points because our result here wasn’t positive, but it’s not a failure for me.
“I will no longer be the Coach of the Under-21s. I thank everyone, from the directors to [FIGC youth coordinator] Maurizio Viscidi.
“The fault is ours alone, without looking for excuses. The main ones responsible are me and the lads who have been with me.
“But whoever says we have no style of play and don’t run are wrong. We’ve had more shots, we’ve been more dangerous than the others.
“If Romania had won yesterday, you’d have all told me that I was the best...”
Does the 48-year-old stand by his decision to call up so many players from Italy’s senior and U20 teams?
“Yes, absolutely,” he replied.
“Even Zaniolo and Kean gave me something, maybe less than the other four, but I don’t feel like blaming them.
“People also forget that we had to loan players to the Under-20 team for the World Cup. We have 40-50 players between U19, U20 and U21 levels.
“The youth teams have gone far beyond expectations. Real failure is when you pick up no points and no-one goes up to the national team.”
Finally, the former Roma and Inter midfielder put himself out to clubs looking for new Coaches.
“I’m on the market. Serie A and Serie B clubs have been looking at me, but out of respect for the FIGC I’ve always said ‘no’.
“Thanks to our growth over the years, I feel ready for new challenges. I would’ve left even if we’d won.
“I no longer felt 99.9 percent stimulated, although I might’ve left the door open to the Olympics.”