Italy boss Giampiero Ventura admits “I felt like standing up and applauding” Isco and that “there was an abyss” between his side and Spain on Saturday.
Isco’s pair of ‘golazos’ fired Spain to a 3-0 victory over Italy, which virtually booked La Roja’s place at the 2018 World Cup, and Ventura confessed the Azzurri were not at the races.
“I can say there was a difference in terms of physical fitness and quality,” said the Coach at his Press conference.
“In the first half we did some good things, and only allowed one shot on target from open play, whereas David De Gea needed a miracle on Andrea Belotti.
“Then Lorenzo Insigne could’ve opened the game up again and we gifted them a third goal.
“This match allows us to test things out, as we want to go to the World Cup and that is the objective.
“If one match cancels out all the good work done so far, I may as well give up now.
“If we take away the five shocking mistakes – conceptual mistakes, not individual ones – and add five things we could’ve done better…
“If we had won here and lost against Israel on Tuesday, we’d have gone to the playoffs anyway.
“I realised yesterday that I’d get criticised whatever I did. People were saying I’d play 3-5-2 and blasting me for not using Insigne.
“I realised then there is absolutely no balance in the feedback you get from social media.
“We attacked very little down the left compared to the right flank and that penalised Insigne.
“Marco Verratti was in the middle of the park and paid the price for a very high tempo.
“Could Buffon have done better? That seems a bit silly. They were well-taken goals, Isco is a top player, just remember his nutmeg in midfield. When I saw that, I felt like standing up and applauding too.
“This is where the issue becomes both quality and fitness levels. We must have the humility to accept that we’ve got work to do.
“There was an abyss between the sides in terms of fitness and form.”