Saturday 16 December 2017

Conte will not let Italy lose focus - Parolo

Italy's coach Antonio Conte waves to photographers as he arrives for a team training session at their training ground in Montpellier, southern France. Photo: AFP/Getty Images
Italy's coach Antonio Conte waves to photographers as he arrives for a team training session at their training ground in Montpellier, southern France. Photo: AFP/Getty Images

Toby Davis

Italy's famously demanding coach Antonio Conte is not letting up at his players even after they made sure of a place in the round of 16, and top spot in their group at Euro 2016, with one match to spare.

Midfielder Marco Parolo told reporters yesterday that Conte, whose half-time tirades are part of Italian football folklore, was still hammering away at his squad and keeping them on their toes ahead of Wednesday's match against Ireland.

"Even on the day after the game against Sweden, Conte continued to hammer everyone and told us we also have to win the game against Ireland," Parolo told reporters.

"If you allow the tension to drop, then it can be difficult to rediscover the right level of concentration," he added, explaining Conte's philosophy. "His motto is that winning helps you to win.

"We want to continue on our current path, in the shadows, taking it one game at a time. Wherever we end up, it'll be because we gave everything we had."

Andrea Pirlo, who played for three seasons under Conte at Juventus, said in his autobiography that the coach would come into the dressing room at half-time and throw bottles of fizzy mineral water against the walls in a fit of rage.

Pirlo, who is 37 and was not included in the squad for France, said that Conte's outbursts "crash through the doors of your mind, often quite violently, and settle deep within you."

Irish Independent

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