Manchester United defender Matteo Darmian said it was “emotional” to score his first Italy goal against Azerbaijan.
“The important thing was to qualify, we knew it was a difficult game, but we faced it in the best way and brought home the victory and qualification,” Darmian told Rai Sport after a 3-1 win in Baku.
“Of course it’s very emotional to score my first goal for Italy and that was clear by the embrace of my teammates.
“We were so concentrated that we weren’t thinking of injuries. All those who are here deserve to be here and proved themselves day by day.
“It’s a shame for those who had to leave the training camp, but we are a group and we’re all happy to have secured qualification.”
The Azzurri host Norway in Rome on Tuesday evening and a draw will be enough to top the group.
“When we step on to the field, we do it to win and the same will be true when we face Norway.”
Azerbaijan temporarily equalised, so what did Darmian think at that moment?
“It’s never nice to concede, especially in those circumstances, but we continued doing what we needed to and I think we fully deserved the rotund victory.
Darmian has earned even more experience since moving to Manchester United over the summer.
“I had four important years with Giampiero Ventura, as I arrived at Torino after a difficult year at Palermo and he immediately put his faith in me. Our rapport grew and I can only thank him, as he’s a great Coach and is proving it again this term.
“As for Louis van Gaal and Antonio Conte, they are both strong characters and focus on the details, expecting the most from every player.
“Nowadays no national team is truly weak, so it’s not easy for anyone to come here. We knew Azerbaijan were unbeaten in four games, but we were so concentrated that we never expected any other result.
“I try to work hard and improve game by game. Obviously playing high level matches regularly helps you to grow.”
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