Italy star Federico Chiesa admits it was ‘hard to hear’ had coach Luciano Spalletti at the Westfalenstadion last night and insists he was ‘happy’ to play on the right flank against Albania.

Chiesa spoke at a press conference on Saturday night after Italy’s 2-1 win over Albania on their EURO 2024 debut.

The Juventus winger was part of the Azzurri squad that won the Euros three years ago, so he was asked if there are any similarities between that team and the one he’s in this year.

“There are some parallels. We are a very united team,” Chiesa admitted.

“This was our strength three years ago and I think it will certainly be the strength for us at EURO 2024. Today we showed it in a tough situation. Things could have panned out differently, but we have some top-class players in this team with brilliant ability. I think they are top-class footballers. I think that with calm and what the coach asked us to keep the ball and create opportunities, we could overturn the deficit, and we deserved to win.”

Speaking about Spalletti’s work with the national team and the advice the CT gives to his players, Chiesa said: “He wants to see consistency in terms of play and movement. He wants to dominate proceedings and that’s what he’s been telling us ever since he came to Coverciano last September.

“That’s what we tried to show on the pitch. He gave us this advice, but hearing him on the other side of the pitch was quite hard. There was a wonderful atmosphere, it was fabulous. Even if the Italians were outnumbered it was a magnificent experience.

“There were lots of Albanians and fewer Italians, but it was wonderful because when you play in competitions such as the Euros, it’s nice to play ‘away from home’, but I don’t think it necessarily influenced us to concede the first goal,” Chiesa continued.

“It came from a mistake, a throw-in, but as soon as we started the game, we wanted to keep the ball instead of launching it long and giving it away.

“I hope we are able to stay in this competition for as long as possible. As I said moments ago, in terms of being more consistent on the pitch, always standing up and being counted. Be there with the team,” he added.

“That’s what I’ve tried to do on the training ground and what the coach has asked from me. We’ve also had an exchange of opinions on my position. I am willing to play wherever. The coach said I could play on the right and I was very happy to do so.”

Italy’s next opponents are Spain, who beat Croatia 3-0 on their debut. Chiesa was asked what sort of match he expected against La Roja.

“A great match, top class,” he replied.

“Spain showed tonight and in the past what a great side they are, but we are no worse than they are. We’ll try to compete for every ball. We are able to keep possession, but the coach always wants tough players that battle in the 50-50 because this is what you need at the European championship.”

Chiesa scored a goal in the latest Euro meeting between Italy and Spain at Wembley Stadium three years ago. The Azzurri eventually beat La Roja on penalties and went on to win the tournament, beating England in the Final.

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