Italy coach Marcello Lippi has asked for great determination against the Republic of Ireland, but he has warned his side to be wary of Giovanni Trapattoni's cunning plans to thwart and outmanouevre them.
La Nazionale head into tomorrow's World Cup qualifier with the chance to stabilise their place at the top of Group 8. Although Italy will fancy their chances, Lippi is being rightly cautious. The coach is expecting Trapattoni to have come up with a scheme which is likely to hinder his side. Nevertheless, Lippi is asking for hunger, determination, and belief as he deploys a master plan to take down the Irish side.
"I expect to win as Italy always have to play for victory against every opponent, but always with great respect for them," Lippi told Sky Sport Italia during the pre-match press conference.
"Trapattoni is a great coach and he knows how to get the best from his men. Ireland have two points less than us, but they have had a good campaign. He [Trapattoni] is a wise coach. A good coach knows how to get the best out of the players and Trapattoni is doing this.
"We will play our game with great determination, pressing them and we will take advantage of our strengths."
With the game being played in Antonio Cassano's home town of Bari, the coach is expecting a hostile crowd after he snubbed the Sampdoria man. However, Lippi was keen to underline that he will not be affected by any uprising from the Cassano faithful.
"I expect them [the fans] to be great and do what every other city would do when Italy turn up. If they want to do other things [whistle and jeer] then they are free to do so," added the coach.
An Italy win will see their lead stretch to five points over second-place Ireland. Lippi insists his side will not take their foot off the gas whatever the result, and he was keen to remind everyone that the qualification campaign is still long and hard.
"It's an important game for qualification and it's an important chance for us," continued the tactician.
"When we beat Montenegro we were happy, but it doesn't mean anything. We have to play Ireland and we have to win and play with authority, prowess and determination because Ireland will play the same way.
"There are still four games left and so qualification will not be guaranteed. We will be in a good position if we win, but it doesn't mean we are through."
Salvatore Landolina, Goal.com