Tuesday September 6 2011
Montolivo reveals midfield tactic

Riccardo Montolivo reveals the tactical approach Cesare Prandelli asked Italy's midfielders to take against Slovenia.

“Obviously we are happy to put the icing on the cake of a year's work and achieve our objective,” he said of their 1-0 victory and Euro 2012 qualification.

Before the trident attack was introduced, midfielders Daniele De Rossi and Montolivo had the best scoring opportunities.

“The first half went quite well against an organised Slovenia side, but the game needed a goal to change it and open up spaces.

“The Coach asked us to push forward from midfield to attack the space and take the defenders by surprise. We did it in the first half, struggled a bit more in the second, but overall it went well.

“I went close with the header, but I'm not really used to scoring goals! We had many chances and the win was deserved, even if the decider came late.”

Mario Balotelli made an impressive impact, especially after a difficult week in which his attitude was criticised.

“Mario makes the difference when he steps on to the field. The only advice we gave was to relax and give his all. I'm happy for him, as it wasn't an easy run-up to this game.”

This was played at the Stadio Franchi, Montolivo's home stadium for Fiorentina, but only 18,000 attended including 1,000 Slovenians.

“In all honesty, I expected more people to turn up, but we saw lots of families and children, so we thank them for coming out and it was a warm atmosphere.

“I expect a great season with Fiorentina and will train giving my all the same way I always have. We never interrupted negotiations over a contract extension, so they continue.”

See the latest Serie A predictions and betting tips with