Thursday October 10 2013
Prandelli: 'Italy will enjoy Denmark'

Cesare Prandelli is confident Italy “will enjoy ourselves” without pressure for a result in Denmark and defends Mario Balotelli.

The Azzurri have already qualified for the 2014 World Cup, so their final two games against Denmark tomorrow evening (at 19.15 UK time, 18.15 GMT) and Armenia on Tuesday give Prandelli the opportunity to experiment. 

“We do not have the pressure of needing three points, but it will be important to win in order to keep our position in the FIFA world ranking and gain even more confidence,” said the Coach in his Press conference.

“Without that pressure, we can enjoy ourselves. You’ll see, we will play good football. There is everything in place to have a great game.

“Denmark are one of the most interesting teams in Europe. In the first game we suffered very badly before the break, while in the second half we went down to 10 men and paradoxically played better. We hope to be strong tomorrow night, because there will be many difficulties.”

Balotelli, Marco Verratti and Lorenzo Insigne have suffered from injuries during the last few days and there were even reports the Milan striker wanted to leave the camp.

“I spoke to Balotelli, just as with Verratti and Insigne. They are all players with minimal problems and I am convinced they can recover in time for Tuesday.

“Did Mario ask to go home? Absolutely not, Mario never did that. I listened to him and he said nothing about that,” insisted Prandelli.

“Mario needs to take the drama out of every situation, as people treat the ‘star’ as more important than the man and the player. We should tell him to relax and not worry so much at the age of 23. If there are problems, then he should face them and not run away.

“I can say one thing about the team: Andrea Pirlo will not be in the starting XI, though he could play later in the match.”

Italy are expected to adopt a 4-3-2-1 system with Antonio Candreva, Riccardo Montolivo and Claudio Marchisio in midfield, then Emanuele Giaccherini and Alessandro Diamanti supporting Dani Osvaldo.

“When players are absent, we have the opportunities to see others and the players must learn to make the most of those opportunities.

“Osvaldo seems relaxed and if he is on the pitch tomorrow then he should focus only on football. It’d be ideal if everyone could do that!”

Prandelli was asked whether in future he could pair Southampton striker Osvaldo with Milan forward Balotelli.

“They did well together against Brazil in Geneva. We played in that game with Giaccherini behind and he caused the most problems for the Brazilian defenders. On paper they are an interesting pair, both technical, powerful and who give depth. We’d like to test them, but aren’t ruling anything out.

“We analysed the goals we conceded in the last few matches. There will always be mistakes, but in recent situations they were more individual errors than the whole defence. These are easily fixed.”

The Italy Coach was questioned on the closure of San Siro for anti-Neapolitan chants and the question of whether the anti-racism rules should be expanded to include ‘territorial’ rivalries.

“When a stadium is closed, it means everyone is wrong. We all lose. Are the ultras holding the clubs to ransom? Some protagonists think they are absolute protagonists, but they are not.

“I would like that, just as against Palermo, after a few jeers at the Bulgarian anthem the rest of the crowd drowned them out with applause. I’d like the majority of fans to contrast certain chants.”

See the latest Serie A predictions and betting tips with