Giampiero Ventura praised Italy’s team ethic and the “importance” of Marco Verratti in a 3-1 victory away to Israel.
This was his competitive debut and the opening 2018 World Cup qualifier, but almost ruined by a Giorgio Chiellini red card after 54 minutes in Haifa.
Ventura showed his determination and positive idea of football by maintaining two strikers after going down to 10 men, as substitute Ciro Immobile got the third goal.
“If we are convinced that we are a team in all arenas, we must show courage always,” the Coach told Rai Sport.
“Clearly being down to 10 men in a World Cup qualifier is difficult. We had a 10-minute black-out after Chiellini’s dismissal, but that was about it.
“I won’t say our performance was perfect, as we conceded that goal similar to the one we let in against France.
“We worked as a team, suffered as a team and won as a team. People said Verratti couldn’t play in that role, but he proved himself a player of great value. He was out for a long time due to injury and proved how important he is to this team.
“I hope in a month against Spain that we’ll be in better shape physically and can therefore play better than tonight.”
This evening Spain beat Lichtenstein 8-0, while Albania were 1-1 with Macedonia when the game was called off due to heavy rain.