Italy must rely on a strong team spirit to have an outside chance of winning Euro 2016 after struggling to uncover young talent, manager Antonio Conte was quoted as saying on Thursday.
Conte, who takes over at Premier League side Chelsea next season, will be hoping Italy can reproduce the form that saw them reach the Euro 2012 final, which they lost to Spain.
He said unity within the squad was of the utmost importance if they were to have any chance at the 24-team tournament.
“It’s important that the squad has a good spirit. I work a lot at this,” the 46-year old told the BBC in an interview. “If we are able to find this way, it’s possible to be an outsider.
“I like to play offensive football and attractive football with great intensity. I like the players to transfer great emotion to our fans.”
Italy have also been hampered by injuries to midfielders Riccardo Montolivo, Claudio Marchisio and Marco Verratti, all of whom have been ruled out of the finals.
Conte said 23-year-old Verratti would be greatly missed.
“He’s the best young player in the national team and a player with great international (European) experience with Paris St Germain,” Conte added.
“It isn’t a good moment for our football. It’s very, very difficult to find strong young players. For this reason, we are working hard to become a good squad.”
Italy are in Group E and face Belgium, Sweden and Ireland in the tournament which starts on June 10.