Montolivo: Prandelli criticism unwarranted
Italian midfielder Riccardo Montolivo has defended coach Cesare Prandelli after criticism of his side's 3-1 win over Armenia on Friday.
Sections of the Italian media suggested Prandelli's men were poor in their win over the European minnows, with the 55-year-old claiming the press were too harsh on his side.
Montolivo echoed his coach's thoughts on the matter, and also stated that a win over Denmark on Tuesday would put them in a strong position to qualify for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.
"Yes, everyone agrees with Prandelli, the criticism was excessive after the game against Armenia," he said.
"My personal feeling, right after the match, was that we had put in a good performance. We made some mistakes and gave too much to our opponents, but if we consider our overall performance I think it was a good performance, very good.
"If we win against Denmark it will definitely show a strong start to our group, which is much more balanced and difficult compared to the European Championship qualifying, but winning at home and reaching 10 points will put us in an excellent position."
Montolivo has had to change his style of play under Prandelli with the usually attacking-minded midfielder being deployed in a more deep-lying role.
But the 27-year-old believes that his time with Prandelli at Fiorentina has helped him fit into his role effectively.
"My role is difficult because I have to play as a midfielder in a more forward position and Prandelli wants us to play fully as midfielders, that means trying to balance and direct the team's play more than trying to become a threat at goal," he said.
"It's a different role. I'm quite lucky though because I've played in that role for many years in Fiorentina and I'm also lucky because I had Prandelli as my manager for many years, so maybe I understand him better and sooner than others."