Italy Coach Giampiero Ventura is “stunned” by the criticism of his side and warned “we’re only at the beginning of a generational shift.”
The former Torino tactician is currently doing the rounds of Serie A clubs, visiting to view training sessions and speak to players.
“From the outside you don’t realise how little time is actually at your disposal,” Ventura told Tuttosport newspaper.
“We are only at the beginning of a generational shift because there has been so little time to experiment. Friendly with France aside, we’ve already played three World Cup qualifiers and won two of them, drawing the other with Spain.
“You might debate the tactical approach, but we ran very few risks against a strong Spain and only conceded on our error. Considering the refereeing mistakes too, we deserved more.
“It is time to leave behind comparisons with Euro 2016, as that side had been working with the same Coach for two years plus 40 days of uninterrupted training sessions.
“Without showing a lack of respect to who is here now, up until 2006 there was so much quality that the CT really could act as selector rather than Coach. When the level of overall quality is lower, you have to be a team and that’s where tactical details make the difference.
“I am stunned by the attitude towards the Nazionale, as even Arrigo Sacchi, Marcello Lippi and Antonio Conte struggled during qualifiers. The Euros are a separate event and should be forgotten now.
“One of the things I inherited from Conte was the oldest Nazionale of the last 50 years.”
One of Conte’s biggest complaints as Italy Coach was the failure to organise a ‘stage’ – get-together separate from regular international duty.
“I’d hope it would be at least two days, Tuesday and Wednesday, because one and a half days would be too limited,” said Ventura.
“We’d call up those who, despite doing well, wouldn’t have the chance to wear the Azzurri jersey in an official match or a high-profile friendly.
“I am thinking of the likes of Gianluca Caprari, Simone Verdi, Gianluca Lapadula and many others. You get to learn from being in the Azzurri environment, not in a one-off game every now and then.”
Another option Ventura is ready to call up is Torino’s 20-year-old Argentine striker Lucas Boyé, who has an Italian passport.
“He is incredibly strong and has some wonderful moves. I just have to be sure of his availability and he’s in the next squad list.”
So far Sassuolo starlet Domenico Berardi has not been called up for senior Italy duty, but Ventura insists that’s only a temporary situation.
“People wrote and said things that were not correct. I said Berardi is a treasure for our football and should be introduced into a system that makes the most of his potential. That is the exact opposite of dropping him.
“I do note a certain prejudice towards me. I was called in for Italy because there is nothing left: we need to rebuild, introduce young players and qualify for the World Cup. I just ask for consistency and fairness when judging me.”
The Italy boss also confirmed he’s no fan of Premier League style kick and run football.
“Many were entertained by Roma 2-1 Inter, but in tactical terms I was horrified!”