Italy coach Cesare Prandelli said he was satisfied with his side’s hard-fought 3-1 victory over Armenia on Friday night.
The Azzurri took the lead through Andrea Pirlo but Henrik Mkhitaryan levelled the scores before second-half goals from Daniele De Rossi and Pablo Osvaldo ensured three points for the Euro 2012 finalists.
Prandelli said his team did struggle at times against their unfancied opposition but also felt they deserved credit for battling it out and ultimately producing a valuable World Cup qualifying win on Armenian soil.
“We struggled to get things going at times, but overall I’m satisfied,” Prandelli told reporters after the match.
“I can’t say this enough: this is a tough group. But we played a great game and showed some character.”
Prandelli’s side face Denmark on Tuesday and sit top of Group B after three games, on seven points after wins over Malta and Armenia and a draw against Bulgaria.
The Italian coach also complained about the Armenian goal, after Mkhitaryan levelled proceedings following a clash of heads between Christian Maggio and Davit Manoyan.
“When two players collide heads, you stop play. The referee didn’t do it and that’s why I protested,” Prandelli said.