Thursday June 11 2015
Conte: 'Pirlo in 4-3-3'

Antonio Conte said he’s learned from a year as Italy Coach, hinted at 4-3-3 against Croatia and Andrea Pirlo “will start.”

The Euro 2016 qualifier will be played behind closed doors in Split on Friday evening and only two points separate the teams in Group H.

“A year of experience as Italy Coach teaches you that a national team is very different to a club and you have to make the most of what you have,” said Conte in his Press conference.

“This match will not be decisive, regardless of the result. It will be great and tough against a strong opponent, but I do not feel it will decide our qualification.

“We are in the position we deserve to be. We played eight games, some well, some less well. There was a growth process and we’re continuing to find young players who make their mark in Serie A. There are also many interesting elements in the Under-21 side and this is all a process that takes us into the Euros.

“It is certainly not enjoyable to play without any fans, because football is a spectator sport. It becomes difficult too and I feel it’ll be a handicap for both us and Croatia. We’d have certainly preferred to play with a crowd.”

He became famous for his 3-5-2 system at Juventus, but this week was testing out the 4-3-3.

“This idea was not just introduced to counter Croatia, but I’ve had it in my mind for a while now. Considering the current situation, I think it is the best option.

“With the trident attack I want to reward the good things I’m seeing in Serie A. We have an abundance of fast wide players who know how to take men on.

“Unfortunately, we do not have many experienced players in attack, as Antonio Candreva has more Italy caps than the rest. They will and indeed must find goals.

“I have decided my line-up, but I won’t tell you what it is. Will Pirlo play? Yes. Speaking to Andrea he still has the enthusiasm of a kid and I think it’s beyond doubt he will continue his playing career. In my view he has a lot left to give.

“If we lose Pirlo, then Claudio Marchisio can always take over that role. We’re covered, as shown by the fact I had to leave Mirko Valdifiori at home.”

Marco Verratti and Daniele De Rossi are ruled out by injury.