Conte: Italy must not fear anyone

The former Juventus boss has called on his players to play with pride as they look to seize top spot against Croatia

Antonio Conte insists his Italy side must not fear anybody as they prepare for their Euro 2016 qualifier against Croatia.

The Azzurri head into Saturday’s match level on points with Niko Kovac’s men, though they remind behind them on goal difference after three matches.

Despite both sides having secured three wins from three so far, Conte is adamant his team must not approach the clash with anything other than a full conviction to win.

“We must not be afraid of anyone, but we must respect every opponent. We are a growing team in terms of what we are doing,” he told reporters.
“The team are prepared, I hope that we’ll play a great match regardless of who takes to the field. I hope for a good win tomorrow. We will have to take to the field with desire and pride.”

Mario Balotelli’s return to the Italy set-up was short-lived as he was sent back to Liverpool after suffering an injury during training this week.

“Balotelli did not train yesterday and today and it was useless to keep him, so I chose to send him home,” Conte explained. “These days I have evaluated him in the same way as anyone else.”

Heavy rainfall has blighted Milan over the last 24 hours but Conte hopes to see an improvement on Sunday in order to allow two technical sides the chance to express themselves.
“We hope that the weather will improve, we are a team that plays football as well as Croatia and we hope that the pitch is in good condition,” added the former Juventus boss.

“We play at San Siro against Croatia and we are at the top, level on points. We are all well aware of the race to qualify.”

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