Ventura: “The second half was disappointing, we dropped off physically.” Buffon: “We need a turning point”

Ventura: “The second half was disappointing, we dropped off physically.

FYR Macedonia pegged Italy back 13 minutes before the final whistle. After a couple of chances weren’t taken in the first half, Giorgio Chiellini opened the scoring before the lead slipped towards the end. “The second half was disappointing,” admitted Gian Piero Ventura after the whistle. “We lost control of what we’d been doing in the first half. Our condition had a large impact as we struggled for focus seeing as we weren’t able to create anything more. We then conceded from the only shot on goal that we gave up.”

Whistles from the fans weren’t pleasant but the side needs to look forward. “Considering the second half, the whistles were justified even if I don’t think that an Italy team should ever be whistled as a point of principle. We need to help the crowd get on our side because they can help us. We have a match waiting for us in Albania before the play-offs and we’ll go out there to play. In the meantime, I hope that some of the four or five absentees that we have can return and some players get more playing time with their clubs.”

Gigi Buffon was honest as ever in his assessment. “It wasn’t an enthusiastic performance, I think that the Spain defeat affected our confidence and it still left a mark on this match. We perhaps thought that we’re better than we are, even if a 1-0 win wouldn’t have changed anything and a draw just extends a cycle that we need to get out of fast through pride, determination and a sense of responsibility. In this moment, we need a psychological turning point.”

Giorgio Chiellini is also adamant that the defeat in Madrid had an impact on the team in terms of enthusiasm: “We should have controlled the game better and been more careful. We wanted these three important points, we are really frustrated. We have to carry on working with personality and belief. We are sorry for the fans, we understand them and we are as upset as they are, but I am sure they will support us when we need them.”

Andrea Barzagli, who left the pitch at the end of the first half on account of a minor muscular problem, agreed with his defensive partner: “I went off to avoid taking any risks. People were expecting more from us and we could have done better. In the second half, we didn’t control the ball and maybe we felt tired too. It was a bad game, we need a bit more belief in ourselves, but we are all keen to play and give our all. We have to show more determination on the pitch, we want to go to Russia. We have to go to Russia.”

 

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