Italy coach Antonio Conte has dismissed criticism of his squad selection for Euro 2016, insisting his players have his “utmost trust”.
Conte’s decision to overlook the likes of Jorginho and Giacomo Bonaventura led to suggestions that the squad lacks the creativity Italy will need to overcome Belgium, Sweden and the Republic of Ireland in Group E.
But Conte, who will depart his role to take over at Chelsea after the tournament, insists he paid little heed to the comments, saying: “We care very little about what people from the outside have to say.
“In terms of my squad choices, there is nothing to clarify. I chose 23 players who all have my utmost trust. I know what they can give me and there’s nothing else to say on that matter.
“We are only focused on ourselves and concentrating on improving as a group, in our principles and our philosophy.
“It is all about remaining concentrated and getting the most out of ourselves that we can. We will keep our heads down and move forward.”
Italy are training in Montpellier ahead of their Group E opener against Belgium in Lyon, and Conte said the temperatures in the south of France were proving a challenge.
“We’re working in higher temperatures than at Coverciano. There it was cooler and we worked better,” he said.
“We faced temperatures of 26 to 27 degrees, so we have to acclimatise in a hurry.
“I thank the mayor and the city of Montpellier for the welcome they’ve given us. We made a careful choice. This offers us a great sports centre, a quiet town and a large Italian contingent. It’s the ideal location.
“Our fans have given us energy and enthusiasm. We thank them, they’re very important.”
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