Ventura: “I expect to see steps forward against Albania.” Buffon: “We’re a united group”

Ventura: “I expect to see steps forward against Albania.” Buffo

“I’m absolutely calm. I’ve seen the guys working well up until today and this morning also, I now expect to see steps made forwards compared to the FYR Macedonia match, we have great room for improvement,” said Gian Piero Ventura in his press conference ahead of the Albania match. “The Albania match will be an interesting fixture even if we’ve already qualified for the play-offs as we need to win to improve our chances of being one of the top seeds. It’s also a historic moment with Italy playing for the first time in Albania and it would be nice for us if tomorrow is a great celebration of football.”

“We could have done more in certain moments but we can’t have regrets about that,” Ventura went on. “I’m satisfied with what we’ve seen in these 14/15 months. When I started on this adventure, I said that Italy needed a generational change because the age was very advanced even if we can’t disregard points of reference such a Buffon, Barzagli, Bonucci, Chiellini and De Rossi who are players who have made history for Italy. I still see them as reference points and they showed that they are again yesterday.”

“The FYR Macedonia game is over, there isn’t the sense of depression that some portrayed but instead there’s the knowledge that we can do a lot better. Therefore, the agreement with those that you call ‘senators’ was to explain to the others what it means to wear the Italy shirt. We talked about the spirit needed to become important figures. This is all that happened, I’m happy and I thank them because they showed that they’re great men as well as excellent players. The fundamental thing is to restore balance and calm so that we can go and play these play-offs. Italy has to and wants to go to the World Cup.”

Captain Gigi Buffon was sat alongside Ventura at the press conference and he spoke about the team meeting yesterday. “I want to clear something up, what happened was something which always happens in certain times and by affronting it together as a group/team, you can get back on the right track and bring positive results. All of this happened with the consent of the Coach and all of his staff, there was nothing to hide, what we wanted was shake things up among ourselves. It’s an important point and I wanted to put that out there for the sake of clarity. Tomorrow, we have to start to see the response and I hope we can see a team with a strong identity again.”

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