Ciro Immobile admits no-one was expecting the climate Italy faced at the World Cup, as he labels Antonio Conte a ‘hammer’.
The Azzurri were eliminated at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil at the group stages under Cesare Prandelli, in a campaign that saw Immobile break into the set-up.
“The biggest thrill was when I made my first debut as a starter, before the friendly with Fluminense, and then the game with Uruguay in Brazil,” Immobile has reflected to the Corriere dello Sport.
“To hear the national anthem on the field is the dream of every child who starts playing football.
“Prandelli is serious and competent, he rarely raises his voice, but in Brazil after the first victory we were a bit lost.
“Probably, even if we had been told, none of us expected that climate and we were unnerved. Myself, in the running that I have in my game, I was less strong than usual and I cannot explain why.”
In Prandelli’s place has come Conte, who has won his first four matches in charge.
“He is a hammer, a perfectionist who leaves nothing to chance,” continued Immobile, who also discussed his summer exit to Borussia Dortmund.
“I had the good fortune to work with him at Siena and I assure you that he demands the best from everyone, from the stars in the team to the kitman.
“For the Coach the results speak. Perhaps with the widened qualification process reaching the European Championship will be easier than in the past, but after the last World Cup Italy must prove that they are always hungry for the result.
“We are Italy and we must always be in the top four.
“Balotelli? Mario is a funny guy and I have never had any problems with him. As a player he is very talented.
“I am convinced that he will do well at Liverpool. Anyway, the national team is open to everyone - who would have thought that I, Destro and Zaza would arrive at Coverciano together?”
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