Ahead of their opening World Cup qualifier’s match, the Italy boss believes the first is 'always the most difficult.'
“We are here representing a great Federation that has won the World Cup four times, so we always hope for a magical atmosphere,” said the CT in his press conference.
“The first qualifier is always the most difficult and the most important, as it comes after many months of inactivity. We need to be very wary, concentrated, and start on the right foot.
“Northern Ireland are a typically British team, they defend and counter. We mustn’t take risks, as there will be very few spaces.
“They are physically very Anglo-Saxon, but they are better defensively and dangerous on the counter-attack.”
Oddly, the World Cup qualifiers will be played before the postponed Euro 2020.
“I have rested over these five months and really missed the work. Our objective right now is the qualifiers, then after these three games we’ll see about the Euros. Our focus must be on tomorrow.”
Following a COVID-19 outbreak at Inter, Nicolò Barella was a late addition to his national team’s training.
“He already knows the team and hasn’t missed much in training, so we’ll see tomorrow whether he starts. I have one doubt on the starting XI.
“Playing three intense games in such quick succession, with the qualification for Qatar 2022 at stake, is not easy. However, I must say this team has developed a great mentality and has always remained concentrated over the last two years.
“They know full well, due to past experience, that starting the group strong is important.”