Sunday October 11 2015
Conte: 'How Italy went to 4-2-4'

Antonio Conte trusts Italy can have their say at Euro 2016 and explains the “gradual” tactical evolution to 4-2-4.

The Azzurri booked their spot in the tournament thanks to last night’s 3-1 victory away to Azerbaijan and will top the group with a point against Norway on Tuesday.

“We focus on facts and not a pecking order that is made to be overturned,” the Coach told reporters in Baku.

“We are not the favourites, but in France we will cause problems for anyone we face. I want a Nazionale that makes Italians proud. That doesn't mean you have to win, but rather see good football at an intense tempo.

“I hope to be given the chance to work after the Serie A season ends and prepare a small war machine. I am counting on it.”

Conte used a 4-4-2 against Azerbaijan, although arguably with Stephan El Shaarawy and Antonio Candreva on the wings it was more of a 4-2-4.

“We reached this situation gradually, putting in two attacking wide men and two strikers. You know this is a style of football that I like. I used it at Bari and Siena, winning the Serie B titles. I wanted to do it at Juventus too, but didn’t have the players suited to this tactic.”

Conte often criticised clubs for withholding players and putting pressure on the Italy squad to rest top stars.

“I rarely had much support from the outside in my career, but I always made that into my strength and gained from it. The most important thing is that I work hard and it gives me the strength to overcome any obstacle.

“Italy must not lack ambition, because that is what we need to go forward and possibly finish ahead of everyone. Of course we know there are European teams better equipped to lift the trophy, but that mustn’t scare us, because with the talent we’ve got at our disposal and if we act as a team, then we can do great things.

“This qualification is the first step. We achieved our first objective and there was nothing to be taken for granted. You have to earn things by working hard. I’m very happy with that.”