Prandelli: Newspapers are being too critical of Italy

The 55-year-old coach has hit back at reporters who claim that the national side performed poorly in their last match and gave an update on the fitness of striker Mario Balotelli
Cesare Prandelli has defended his Italy side following criticism of their recent performance against Armenia in a number of newspapers.

The 55-year-old coach previously stated that it was a satisfying result but the Italian press felt otherwise, something which has angered Prandelli.

“The newspapers make it look as if we didn't put in a good performance, but that certainly didn't seem to be the case to me,” the coach told reporters at a press conference.

“We are coming off the back of the Euro 2012 final and because of that some people think we ought to win every match 3-0."

Midfielder Claudio Marchisio also believed that their performance was adequate and went on to suggest that the media may have underestimated the strength of the Armenia team.

"[The match] against Armenia was a very important victory," he stated.

"I'm sure the teams they play in the near future will find it difficult. Armenia is not a team that should be underestimated," Marchisio told reporters.

Italy star Mario Balotelli did not feature in the game but Prandelli has suggested that the Manchester City player could return to action sooner rather than later.

"Mario had a very strong cough in Armenia and was struggling to breathe, so he was in no condition to play. If he is in good shape today, then he will train with the others,” the Italian concluded.