Friday March 25 2011
Prandelli: 'Call us a Serie B side...'

Italy Coach Cesare Prandelli hit back at the critics after conquering Ljubljana. “When they call us a Serie B side, it just motivates us even more.”

The Azzurri earned a 1-0 victory in Slovenia that puts them six points clear at the top of their Euro 2012 qualifying group, as Serbia beat Northern Ireland 2-1.

“People said we were a Serie B side, but that just helps motivate us even more,” smiled the tactician.

“We've got a lot of work to do; obviously victories help to improve self-belief. It's an important game and the lads felt at half-time they could go on to win it.

“We certainly need to correct a few things with cross-field passes, but we had the better of the match in midfield.”

Thiago Motta scored the winning goal, but Antonio Cassano had another fairly quiet game.

“Cassano worked hard and sacrificed himself for the team, so I am satisfied, as I am with everyone.”

When asked by the RAI camera crew if this victory meant Italy could book their ticket for the 2012 European Championships, Prandelli laughed off the question.

“No, qualification is far from assured!”

Mario Balotelli was dropped along with Daniele De Rossi for breaking the code of ethics, but has hinted the Manchester City striker could be called for Tuesday's friendly in Kiev.

“Will Balotelli be called against Ukraine? I don't know, we'll see.”