Federico Chiesa sees France and Portugal as the main rivals for Italy at Euro 2020 and described the importance of tactics for new Fiorentina coach Beppe Iachini.
The Azzurri qualified with a 100 per cent record of 10 wins out of 10 and will face Turkey, Switzerland and Wales in the group stage of the tournament proper.
“I feel we are a very strong side, plus the coach Roberto Mancini taught us a lot in the last few years. He showed us how to play, keeping a lot of possession, a lot of intensity,” Chiesa told the official Fiorentina site.
“We saw our game develop a lot and that was showed by the results we got. Our qualification with a perfect record in the group showed we are a really strong team and can do well at the Euros.
“I still have to prove myself to get into the squad with my performances for the remainder of the season with Fiorentina.”
Are Italy among the favourites to win the Euro 2020 trophy this summer?
“There are many strong sides, for example France who won the 2018 World Cup, Portugal with Cristiano Ronaldo, so it’s going to be really tough.”
Chiesa also discussed the complexities of playing in Serie A, as Fiorentina are hovering above the drop zone, but fired Vincenzo Montella to bring in Beppe Iachini.
“In Serie A there is a lot of tactical preparation before games, that’s what our coach wants, for us to be tactically perfect, always concentrated, because one missed position and there’s a goal or opportunity for the opponent.
“For example, in the Spanish league there is less focus on tactics, more on possession of the ball. In the Premier League there’s a lot of running, individual duels, not a lot of tactics. When you watch a Serie A game, you can immediately see the tactics and concentration, so that’s what stands out.
“Even for strikers, we work on the defensive way of keeping a good position for your body and how to attack in front of the goal. It’s a lot of tactics! We spent the first sessions with the coach learning how to stay on the pitch, focusing on your position and to attack spaces, defend spaces.
“The entire of Serie A has a lot of good defenders, so it’s really tough for a striker here. Think of Chiellini, Alex Sandro, Inter defenders like De Vrij and Skriniar.”
Chiesa revealed his football hero is Lionel Messi, but they had a near miss.
“I didn’t have the opportunity to play against him, as when Italy played Argentina on my international debut in Manchester, he was on the bench! I hope in future to play against him, that’s my dream.”