Sunday September 4 2016
Ventura: 'No more Conte comparisons'

Giampiero Ventura expects “another step forward” for Italy against Israel, but warned “I don’t want to talk about Euro 2016 anymore.”

The opening 2018 World Cup qualifier kicks off in Haifa on Monday at 19.45 UK time (18.45 GMT).

The Coach opened his Press conference with condolences for Cagliari Scudetto-winner Nene and remembering the 10th anniversary of Giacinto Facchetti’s death.

It seems as if there are two main doubts in the line-up on the left between Luca Antonelli and Mattia De Sciglio, plus in midfield with Federico Bernardeschi or Giacomo Bonaventura.

“The ideas are more or less clear, we just need to consider the best characteristics for us and for how our opponents are playing.

“I am absolutely not worried and confirm what I said after the game with France, which is that the performance was a lot less negative than the result.

“We complimented the players privately and publicly, because this was a prestigious friendly and not easy to prepare in three days.

“Tomorrow the result counts more than the attractiveness of the football, so we have to focus on what really matters and it will be a very different game.

“What we did there was an attempt to try certain situations. Clearly in three days the players did well to try. What I expect now is simply to improve, to speed up the movement and make another step forward.

“I don’t know what the result will be tomorrow. I tend to think that if there is another step forward in terms of performance, the result will come.

“Some situations have been metabolised, so hopefully from now on the players won’t be waiting to think of the next move and simply be ready to make the move, speeding everything up.”

France seemed to be moving much quicker than the Italy squad, so are the fitness levels an issue?

“We’ve only had two Serie A rounds and the statistics speak clearly. If you look over the last 10 years, I think we went through just one Champions League preliminary round, as we start late and therefore don’t have the same fitness levels as teams from other countries."

When asked how he was building on Antonio Conte's Euro 2016 squad, the former Torino Coach shut reporters down.

“I don’t want to talk about Euro 2016 anymore. We begin a new journey, from here on I don’t want to make comparisons.”

Like Ventura, this is the first competitive match for Coach Elisha Levy on the Israel bench after a 3-1 friendly loss to Serbia.

“I don’t know much about the Israel team, as they have a new Coach who only had one friendly game. They have players of absolute quality, but it’s the team that makes the difference rather than the individual players.

“It’s difficult to predict how they will play, but then everything is difficult in life and we are accustomed to doing difficult things,” smiled Ventura.

Italy are unbeaten in World and European qualifying games for almost 10 years, so will that run continue in a group with Spain and Albania?

“It’d be too nice if statistics were guarantees, but I don’t believe in that. I believe in the quality of the players, their enthusiasm, desire and intention to improve themselves. The result might not always be marvellously positive, but it’s a journey and we certainly won’t snub a positive result early on.”