Cesare Prandelli insists Italy “want to dream” at Euro 2012 and won’t be content with a semi-final spot, especially after Spain lost David Villa.
The Azzurri are in the same group as Spain, the Republic of Ireland and Croatia, so were boosted by news that Barcelona star Villa will be out for four to five months after breaking his shinbone during the Club World Cup.
“As things stand today, I won’t be happy with fourth place,” declared Prandelli on Rai Due.
“I want to dream and we are starting the competition with this dream. The Nazionale is going beyond the rosiest expectations and we can improve a great deal in the next five months too.
“However, I warn everyone to pay attention to Croatia, as they will give us the most difficult test of the group. I don’t like people talking about our qualification as a certainty, because let’s not forget what happened in South Africa.”
Prandelli took over from Marcello Lippi in July 2010 after the worst World Cup campaign in Italy’s history.
He confirmed there could be some get-togethers without actual friendly matches in the lead-up to Euro 2012.
“Just one friendly from here to May isn’t enough. The get-togethers will be important, but I won’t make life difficult for the clubs or stress out the players.
“The important thing is that I can’t get the tactical system wrong. Once I’ve made the decision, I must find individuals who are more adept for that system and not those who can play in numerous different tactical roles.”
The Azzurri must name their squad by May 15 and their opening game against Spain is on June 10.
See the latest Serie A predictions and betting tips with Eurotips.co.uk