Cesare Prandelli reserved special praise for Mario Balotelli after the World Cup qualifying victory over Denmark on Tuesday.
Goals from Riccardo Montolivo, Daniele De Rossi and Balotelli were enough to wrap up a comfortable 3-1 win, with a dominating performance to match, despite Pablo Osvaldo receiving a red card.
“We found some initial difficulties, as they were pushing us high up the field,” Prandelli told reporters.
“Then we played excellent football for 20 minutes. We conceded this goal that could’ve made it all go wrong on the stroke of half-time, especially after going down to 10 men, but the team was very organised.
“We showed the spirit of a great team, as with 10-men we fought in an organised and determined manner. Once again these lads did brilliantly and focused on this match, which was very, very important for us.
Prandelli went on to pick out the performance of Balotelli and urged the controversial forward to continue his impressive efforts for the national side.
“Mario has to play like this, with this level of generosity. He has the talent,” he said.
The unpredictable Manchester City striker put in a hard-working performance which earned him a standing ovation at San Siro, which the 22-year-old believes he can repeat.
“I hoped to win this match. Denmark scored just before the break and things got rather complicated, but it was good to score tonight,” Balotelli said.
“Both with Italy and City, I have always put the effort in and am improving in terms of my work rate. I have had this humility for a while and can continue to have it without problems.”