Friday September 6 2013
No surprises for Italy XI v Bulgaria

Italy should start with a 4-3-2-1 against Bulgaria this evening – even if boss Cesare Prandelli refused to confirm as much.

“We’ve tried out the 4-3-2-1 in training, but we still haven’t decided,” he stated ahead of the World Cup qualifier in Palermo.

“But if that is the route we go down then it is because we have seen something interesting for us in that.

“Bulgaria defend deep, there is not too much space behind them and so we will therefore need quality in the middle of the pitch.

“A lot of sides are still very dangerous with just one attacker. We can’t give our opponents any points of reference.”

Alberto Gilardino is set to lead the attack given that Mario Balotelli of Milan and Southampton’s Pablo Daniel Osvaldo are suspended.

“Gilardino and Balotelli ate two completely different players, they interpret the role in different ways,” the tactician added.

“Gila attacks the box and the front post like few. Mario moves around more and scores different goals to Gila. They are attackers who, at the end of the day, put the ball into the back of the net.”

Despite a lack of attacking options, Stephan El Shaarawy is still expected to be left out of the starting XI.

“El Shaarawy is in good mental shape even if he does tend to keep things to himself. That makes him difficult to read, but I’ve spoken to him and he’s calm.”

The midfield should contain Thiago Motta, the Paris Saint-Germain man who has been recalled after a year out of the Giro Azzurro.

“I didn’t abandon Thiago Motta, he was left out because he had injury problems,” the CT justified.

“He is a player with great personality, technique and I need players like that for games like this. I’ve abandoned nobody.

“He wasn’t just called up because Claudio Marchisio is injured and Riccardo Montolivo is suspended. Thiago is a player who has given us a lot.”

Italy probable: Buffon: Abate, Bonucci, Chiellini, Antonelli; Thiago Motta, Pirlo, De Rossi; Candreva, Giaccherini; Gilardino.

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