Italy right-back Matteo Darmian says he and his team-mates are paying little attention to media verdicts, which do not rate the four-time world champions as one of the favourites for Euro 2016.
The 2012 runners-up are not rated as highly as the likes of France and Germany, who are seen as the clear favourites for the title, but Darmian – who endured a mixed debut season at Manchester United – says Italy are just focussed on preparing as well as they can upon their arrival in France.
“We are here with great enthusiasm. Our adventure didn’t start today, it started a few weeks ago. We are working well and we want to be ready,” he told reporters.
“We are looking forward to it and we hope so. It’s something we all hope but as I already said, it all depends on the work on the pitch so we will surely fight hard.
“We try not to pay attention to all that is around us and we focus on our job and on doing our best.”
The United full-back, who could effectively be playing for his future at the club at the European Championship with new manager Jose Mourinho reportedly open to selling the Italian, also commented on the appointment of Giampiero Ventura as Antonio Conte’s successor as Italy coach.
“Well, for sure I wish him the best and I wish him good luck. I am happy for this opportunity that mister Ventura has but at the moment I think we have to focus 100 per cent on this European championship, starting already from today,” he said.
Italy take on Belgium in their tournament opener on June 13, before matches against Sweden and Ireland in what promises to be a tough Group E.