U21: Nicolato sees ‘ambitious’ Italy

Italy Under-21 coach Paolo Nicolato insists they are ‘ambitious’ going into the European U21 Championship, which begins tomorrow against the Czech Republic.

The opening game kicks off on Wednesday at 17.00 GMT, followed by Spain on Saturday March 27 and Slovenia on Tuesday March 30.

“The Czech Republic are a team with a precise identity, they are mature and decidedly more experienced than we are, with many players who were born in 1998,” said Nicolato in his press conference.

Italy Under-21 coach Paolo Nicolato insists they are ‘ambitious’ going into the European U21 Championship, which begins tomorrow against the Czech Republic.

The opening game kicks off on Wednesday at 17.00 GMT, followed by Spain on Saturday March 27 and Slovenia on Tuesday March 30.

“The Czech Republic are a team with a precise identity, they are mature and decidedly more experienced than we are, with many players who were born in 1998,” said Nicolato in his press conference.

“They play an adult football with real dynamism, so it’s going to be a tough game. We studied them and worked on some counter-measures, but we lost several players to injury, including Andrea Pinamonti.”

Another was added this evening, as Samuele Ricci also had to pull out of the squad just hours before the deadline.

“This tournament is complicated enough to prepare as it is, because we go in with barely any training sessions beforehand, so have to make the most of the time we have. That means keeping it simple, but effective.”

Like their rivals Spain, Italy have also seen talents like Moise Kean, Manuel Locatelli and Alessandro Bastoni poached by the senior squad.

“We are well aware that our role is transitional, but it’s also exciting to revamp and present an ambitious team. We must be ambitious and try to give our best in every situation.”

The European Under-21 Championship represents an opportunity for former Milan striker Patrick Cutrone to prove himself after two difficult years at club level.

“He is aware that this is a very important competition for him. I expect from him what I expect from everyone else, the knowledge they can do better,” added the coach.

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