Antonio Conte shared his views on a number of issues ranging from the much debated Juventus-Roma clash to the inclusions of Graziano Pelle and Daniele Rugani.
Antonio Conte held a press conference on the first day of Italy’s camp ahead of the games against Azerbaijan and Malta and stated that he is unconcerned by the controversies surrounding Juventus-Roma and expects a fully committed side at his disposal.
“It does not concern me. I will speak only about the national team. I will assess all that has happened from a distance, because now my job is to work for my country. That of CT is a role above all else.”
“Will the fall-out from the game affect player relations with Italy? During the battle everyone has to defend their own flag.”
“When you arrive at the national team it is necessary to defend the colors of the country. That is the case today as it was in the past and it will be in the future.Now the players must all get along. In the League they are opponents. As a player myself I behaved like that.”
Regarding Francesco Totti’s words Conte said, “Bothered from Totti’s words? I’m the national team coach today and I answer according tomy role. I’m above and I observe, should somebody say something about the national team, I wouldn’t back off. My dialectic battle is related to the teams I coach and I would do anything to defend my colors and my flag. I told the player to avoid bringing problems here; we represent the national team, which is the most important thing.”
Conte reflected on the start of the new season in Italy, “Serie A? We’ve seen fun games so far, but I watch the games especially to find players that are adapt to our playing system. The wingers? Their position matter, it doesn’t matter whether they are wingers or fullbacks. I need wingers that work in both phases: Candreva understood what I want in that role and this surely helped him. I’ll evaluate in the next two games. It’s inevitable that I’ll change them between the first and the second one.”
The former Juventus technician then had some words regarding debutants Graziano Pelle and Daniele Rugani, and Simone Zaza and Mario Balotelli also. “Graziano represents what I have always said. The meritocracy brings to the national team a player who has scored 50 goals in two years.Today he is in the Premier League, a more competitive League than his spell in the Netherlands and even in England he is proving to be a protagonist.I am curious to see him up close to see if he can do the job. He deserved his call-up from these points of view.We observe them and give them a chance. Those who arrive at Coverciano must have the footballing quality and more to stay.”
“And Daniele Rugani? He has grown exponentially compared to when I coached him at Juventus. Again, this is a sign to the Under-21 players.”
“Mario has started a new course, it is not easy, and I think that he must have the right time to integrate at Liverpool.We are following him as we are all the Italians who are abroad. I make call-ups rather than exclusions, those are very different things.”
“Nothing has changed for Simone. As soon as a player arrives in the national team it tends to enhance them. He now goes through extreme positives and negatives. If we believe that he should solve the issues of Sassuolo then we are on the wrong track. What I ask of him he is doing well and he provides his contribution to the national team.”
Conte then had his say on the options he has for his regista in the national team. “I always choose the players according to their psycho-physical condition.I repeat that I have in mind a football with certain characteristics and roles. I’ve always said this. We need players who can complement each other.”
“I still support [Verratti], but I will play one in that position. It may be that in a game we need more possession, but not at the beginning. The two inside midfielders must be dynamic and run, and differ from Verratti, De Rossi and Pirlo.”
“Aquilani? I was undecided with Alberto whether to call him up for the first squad. He has everything to do well – quality, quantity and strength.I have called him up to see how he can fit into our game. We are having difficulties in finding suitable players for inside midfielders – he is the right age to find a turning point in his career.”
“Marchisio as a regista? I have an abundance of registi, but De Rossi is injured.Verratti has an ankle problem, Pirlo returned only yesterday to play and then there is Thiago Motta. If Verratti does not look alright, I may call up Andrea.”
“After his words of farewell to the national team Pirlo gave me ample availability from all points of view. Also for the growth of the youngsters like Verratti who are the present and future of the national team.To call him up is a natural thing, but what I liked about him is his willingness for the national team. He wants to bring his experience as a man and as a footballer.”
Finally he pointed out what his immediate targets are with the national team.”My mission is to try to qualify for the European Championships proposing a purposeful football, beautiful and attacking.A football from a team that always wants to play their game regardless of the opponent. My mission is to bring to the national team a winning mentality.In September I was favourably impressed by the whole group. I hope to find it also in this period, I am sure it will be so.”
The recent news from the national team camp is that Andrea Pirlo has been called up to replace the injured Giacomo Bonaventura.