Pellegrini Hails New Italy Coach Di Biagio

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Italy midfielder Lorenzo Pellegrini praised interim coach Luigi Di Biagio's ambitiousness and for embodying the "Italian spirit" as he looks to secure the job on a permanent basis.

Di Biagio was installed as Italy's temporary head coach at the start of February following the sacking of Gian Piero Ventura in November.

Ventura was dismissed after Italy failed to qualify for the World Cup, the first time they had suffered such a fate since 1958.

Di Biagio took charge of his first match against Argentina on Friday, a game which ended in a 2-0 defeat thanks to goals from Ever Banega and Manuel Lanzini.

Antonio Conte remains many people's favourite to take the job long-term, with his position at Chelsea looking increasingly precarious, though Pellegrini – who was handed his third cap on Friday – credited Di Biagio's personality as he bids to keep the position for himself.

"He is very direct with us," Pellegrini told reporters at Sunday's news conference ahead of Tuesday's clash with England.


"He doesn't care if we call him boss or something else. He is very ambitious and has the desire to improve.

"He embodies the Italian spirit and wants to make that next step, not just from a footballing perspective.

"There are many things that don't depend just on us or the coach. We must do what the coach asks of us in helping us to improve.

"We must get to know each other better and create a team that can put Italy back to where they deserve to be. That's the main thing."

Italy showed signs of promise in the defeat to Argentina, but Pellegrini is adamant they have a lot to improve on from a "technical" perspective, before suggesting the likes of Fabricio Bustos, Giovani Lo Celso and Lanzini do not offer much more than what the Azzurri have.

"This is a bit of disappointment and bitterness," Pellegrini said. "All of the teams that we face look to pass the ball around.

"We must improve a lot in terms of the technical qualities that we have. We must enjoy ourselves and improve, looking to steal some things from other teams.

"Players like Bustos, Lo Celso and Lanzini don't have much more than us, including international experience."