Saturday October 13 2012
Prandelli stands up for Italy

Cesare Prandelli staunchly defends his Italy side against media criticism after their win in Armenia and gives an update on Mario Balotelli’s condition.

The Azzurri are top of World Cup qualifying Group B after the 3-1 away victory and welcome Denmark on Tuesday.

“The newspapers make it look as if we didn’t put in a good performance, but that certainly didn’t seem to be the case to me,” said the Coach in today’s Press conference.

“We prepared well and just need to find more quality, seeing as we do not have the characteristics to go on rapid counter-attacks. Why did I substitute Andrea Pirlo? Because I wanted more balance.

“I saw a side with the right spirit and I’m more relaxed after that performance. The team must always evolve, as we can’t play the same way for years on end.

“Armenia’s equaliser did scare us, but we were never passive and immediately created another great scoring opportunity.”

Prandelli also stood up for Sebastian Giovinco, who was hit particularly hard by critics in today’s papers.

“He creates chances. He may not have been able to score last night, but what counts is that he is always in the right position. Thanks to his movement, we created many dangerous attacks.

“Stephan El Shaarawy has the advantage that he is young and doesn’t feel the pressure. He came off the bench with the right attitude, had a good chance and did what we asked of him. If we should play with a wide attacker against Denmark, then he’d be the favourite for the role.”

Giovinco was not meant to be in the starting XI, but stepped in after Balotelli was struck with a heavy cold and high temperature.

“We will wait to see what the doctors say. Mario had a very strong cough in Armenia and was struggling to breathe, so he was in no condition to play. If he is in good shape today, then he will train with the others,” continued Prandelli.

“I can confirm Giorgio Chiellini will start on Tuesday, as he seemed tired before the Armenia game and I opted to rest him.

“We are coming off the Euro 2012 Final and because of that some people think we ought to win every match 3-0. That is not the case. We are in a balanced group and Denmark have always caused us problems.

“There is no such thing as an easy game. The Armenian Coach said they would have a national day of celebration in case of victory, which shows you how much they cared about this fixture.”

Prandelli also denied Juventus and Napoli were going to put pressure on to rest their stars ahead of Saturday’s Scudetto showdown.

“It has never happened in two years and I don’t think it will happen now. This is the Nazionale, so the players can start thinking about Juve-Napoli from Wednesday.”