Thursday March 29 2012
Prandelli: Italy could be in better shape

Italy boss Cesare Prandelli has admitted that he would have liked more time to work with his national side ahead of Euro 2012.

The Azzurri have played just three friendly games since November and Prandelli’s idea to have a number of mini get-togethers with goalkeepers, defenders, midfielders and attackers was rejected by clubs.

“I accept the decision of the Lega, but I want to highlight something – the national team is not mine, it belongs to all Italians,” he said in an interview with Tuttosport.

“Everyone wants to win and it wouldn’t have been a bad idea to start the European Championships prepared in the best possible way…”

Italy were looking good after qualifying with ease, but consecutive friendly losses against Uruguay and USA have raised some concerns.

“To play two games in six months makes no sense, those friendlies were useless,” continued the former midfielder.

“A day and a half thrown away given that the players were still full of adrenaline after the League games.

“Before the game against America the only thing which was being discussed was Milan-Juventus and the words of Gigi Buffon after the non-goal of Sulley Muntari.”

Prandelli’s plans have also been hit by injuries to Milan’s Antonio Cassano, who had heart surgery late last year, and Giuseppe Rossi of Villarreal.

“It’s obvious that I miss Cassano and Rossi,” he continued. “There was a lot of scepticism when I decided to opt for two small strikers and instead we got some incredible results.

“I’ll wait for them until the last possible moment.

“Francesco Totti and Alessandro Del Piero? I’m not saying yes or no to Totti and Del Piero, let’s wait and see. You can not doubt that they are champions.

“Mario Balotelli? I’ve said on numerous occasions that he’s a really strong player, but he has to calm down.”

Prandelli is contracted to the Italian Football Federation until June 2014, but there are whispers that he may be targeted by Inter.

“I’m just concentrating on the Italian national side, but who knows what will happen if things go badly at Euro 2012. I miss the day-to-day things of club football and I’ve never hidden that fact.”