Eder is “very happy” for his Italy teammate Graziano Pelle. “We played together in Serie B four years ago.”

Southampton striker Pelle got the decisive goal as the Azzurri beat Malta 1-0 for a Euro 2016 qualifier.

“I didn’t score, but the important thing was the squad and getting the victory, especially as Croatia were held by Azerbaijan and Bulgaria lost,” Eder told Rai Sport.

Eder is “very happy” for his Italy teammate Graziano Pelle. “We played together in Serie B four years ago.”

Southampton striker Pelle got the decisive goal as the Azzurri beat Malta 1-0 for a Euro 2016 qualifier.

“I didn’t score, but the important thing was the squad and getting the victory, especially as Croatia were held by Azerbaijan and Bulgaria lost,” Eder told Rai Sport.

“I am very happy for Graziano, as we played together in Serie B four years ago and it’s nice to meet up with him again in the Nazionale. He’s doing well in England, I’m pleased for him.

“We know there’s no such thing as an easy game in qualifying and when they put everyone behind the ball, it actually makes it more difficult to play them than against the top teams.

“It reminds me of the first game I played against Bulgaria, when they were all behind the ball. The Coach asked me to stay very wide early on and try to spread out the Malta defence.

“We had a lot of efforts charged down and deflected, so it required a lot of patience. When Antonio Candreva came on, he made some important crosses and we’re happy with the victory.”

Andrea Pirlo and Marco Verratti were started together in midfield, a relatively rare occurrence for Italy.

“They are two great players and if you time your runs into space, they can send you clear on goal with a single pass. Unfortunately it’s hard to find space when there are 11 men behind the ball.

“These points are fundamental, we only have two days really to prepare for Bulgaria on Sunday and hopefully we can secure qualification early.”

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