Sunday June 10 2012
Pirlo: 'Defeat did us good'

Andrea Pirlo believes Italy’s friendly defeat to Russia “did us good” to prepare them for the 1-1 draw with Spain.

“I give us seven out of ten, as it was a tough game and we did well enough. The defeat to Russia did us good, as it showed we need a lot more to play at this level,” he said of last week’s 3-0 friendly upset.

“It was important against such a great side, which was probably the best thing for us, as we couldn’t afford to relax. This performance boosts our confidence and we have to continue growing.

“The Coach already said this week we could change things round and with the absence of some players he preferred to switch system.

“In fact, the defeat to Russia did us good, as it was better to go into this game with a bit of tension and people talking badly about us. It helped us to stay focused.”

The Azzurri switched to a 3-5-2 system for this Euro 2012 opener with Daniele De Rossi as a centre-back.

“De Rossi had a great game as a centre-back. He is a champion, so can play in any position.”

Pirlo provided the assist for Antonio Di Natale’s goal, threading through so the Udinese striker could spring the offside trap.

“We know Di Natale does those movements off the shoulder of the defender, so I put it where he likes to go.”

Spain also changed system, adopting a surprise 4-3-3 with no recognisable forwards.

“I was a little surprised seeing not a single striker, but at club level they often play like that, so it allows their midfielders to push forward.”