Italy coach Antonio Conte insisted there was nothing routine about their route to Euro 2016 despite qualifying with a game to spare on Saturday.
Conte’s men booked their place in France for next year’s competition courtesy of a 3-1 victory over Group H rivals Azerbaijan – Eder, Stephan El Shaarawy and Matteo Darmian on target in Baku.
It means the pressure is off going into their qualification finale against Norway in Rome, with Conte pleased to have finished the job.
“Now that we have qualified it might have seemed easy, but there was nothing easy about it,” he told Rai Sport.
“I am happy as we are working well and I saw a team growing, so we must continue this work.
“Our fitness levels were important, but we also changed on a tactical level. The squad is becoming more and more aware of its potential and that can bring us great things.
“My side has grown but we must continue to improve. We even changed formation today, so we’re also working on perfecting that.”
Italy will end qualification unbeaten if they avoid defeat in the capital on Tuesday – a feat Conte is eager to achieve.
“We’re now focused on the Norway match. We have to make sure we don’t relax,” he added.
“We have to honour qualification with a great game in Rome against Norway.”