Italy coach Giampiero Ventura praised his team’s response after their 1-1 draw against Spain in 2018 World Cup qualifying.
Daniele De Rossi struck an 82nd-minute penalty as Italy came from behind after Gianluigi Buffon’s error allowed Vitolo to open the scoring in Turin.
Ventura was pleased with what he saw from his team following that set-back as they kept pace with Spain in Group G, which is topped by Albania.
“It’s a good result, especially if we take into account our players’ physical problems and Spain’s quality,” he told a news conference.
“I saw a great reaction from all of the players. Spain are widely regarded as the group’s favourites, but tonight’s game has taught us many things, one of them being that we can achieve our goals if we want to.
“We can do much better, we can absolutely compete at the top level.”
Spain dominated before they took the lead through Vitolo, but the hosts worked their way back into the encounter.
Ventura lamented his side’s slow start, saying: “We had some players who were a bit too tense.
“Every time we won back the ball, we gave it away two seconds later. A little bit more character was needed, but we got less anxious later on and we began to play football, we created the chances to equalise and even win.
“They had more possession, but you all saw how their goal came and I don’t recall any saves from Buffon.”