Graziano Pelle insists Italy are improving ahead of Euro 2016 despite the disappointing defeat against Belgium as they prepare to welcome Romania on Tuesday.
Italy took the lead through Antonio Candreva’s third-minute goal in Friday’s friendly in Brussels, but the world’s top ranked nation rebounded to record a 3-1 win.
With Euro 2016 just seven months away the defeat will undoubtedly cause concern for Italy coach Antonio Conte.
But Southampton striker Pelle says there are plenty of positives to take from the trip to the Belgian capital and he is confident Italy are in good shape ahead of the Euros.
“If you watch the game back, there were some good things. We are improving in many areas, there are several months until the Euros and we are here to get better,” Pelle said ahead of the match in Bologna.
“Belgium are a great team, but Friday’s match could have been a different outcome.
“I don’t think there are any easy teams and it will be a difficult tournament. Belgium have good quality and are the number one team in the FIFA rankings.
“I have faith, as does the entire squad. I am happy that the coach chose difficult nations for these friendlies, as it’s better to spot issues early and deal with them. It’s a sign of our ambition.”
Italy, who had previously won four straight matches to finish top of their Euro 2016 qualifying group, are set to be forced into one change.
Milan’s Mattia De Sciglio started at left-back against Belgium, but is struggling with a muscle injury picked up in training and is unlikely to be risked.
For Romania, the match represents a great opportunity to test themselves against of the best teams in Europe ahead of the Euros.
Romania finished as runners-up to Northern Ireland in Group F of qualifying and are on a 14-match unbeaten run, with their last defeat coming in June 2014.
Head coach Anghel Iordanescu is now relishing the opportunity for his team to pit their wits against Italy.
“We wanted a match like the one against Italy, who are one of the best teams in Europe,” he said.
“Let’s not forget that Italy is playing a sixth consecutive European championship, is a previous world champion with many great players and experienced players. I think it will boost the team.”
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