Thursday August 28 2014
Conte: Italy similar to Prandelli’s

Antonio Conte has hinted that the nucleus of his Italy team will bear resemblance to that under predecessor Cesare Prandelli.

The 45-year-old is due to name a first Azzurro squad this coming weekend for fixtures with the Netherlands and Norway at the start of September, and discussed with the Gazzetta dello Sport his intentions.

“Everyone asks me: ‘Will there be surprises?’ and I say: ‘Which ones?’” Conte began in his interview.

“The group will be the same as that of Cesare, with one less or more with respect to my idea about football.

“Also because, and I say this right away, three minutes in Serie A, or two goals in one game are not enough. The national team is an honour, something that has to be conquered and suffered for.”

Even so, Conte has opened the door to a debut for Sassuolo’s Domenico Berardi and the return of Stephan El Shaarawy.

“Berardi yes, but let him grow. El Shaarway is doing well physically - two years ago against Juventus he was impressive.

“He is technically skilled, fast, complete - he can become a top player. If he tells me he’s available…”

It was put to Conte that some view his 3-5-2 formation seen at Juventus and that could be used with Italy as overly defensive.

“And that bothers me. My Juve has always been proactive. The 3-5-2 formation is an attacking evolution of the 4-2-4, because it attacks with five men instead of four - two wingers, two strikers and a midfield runner.

“I have a long-term project, compared to Juve, where on the wings I will have a defender and midfielder. I would like on the wings to have two that can hurt in attack and then, on the defensive can close to a four, with a defensive midfielder who can scale back into defence.”

“I see De Rossi as central midfielder who has the possibility to, while defending, fall back and form a defence of four.

“Our intention is that we dictate the game, that we are short, intense and aggressive, and that we get recover the ball as soon as possible.”

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