Italy’s failure to qualify for the 2018 World Cup in Russia cost ex-Azzurri boss Giampiero Ventura his job and Paris Saint-Germain midfielder Marco Verratti believes the 70-year-old placed too much emphasis on tactics during his tenure.
The Azzurri fell to defeat against Sweden in the play-offs, bringing an end to what will be remembered as a humiliating qualification campaign, during which they were humbled away to Spain in a game that saw Ventura get his setup completely wrong and Verratti admits that the wounds are still raw.
“The wound is open and it’ll be very painful when we watch the World Cup on TV,” he told La Gazzetta dello Sport.
“It was a complete failure. Having Spain in the group perhaps pushed us not to believe in ourselves. This negativity was in the air we breathed. The playoffs are also difficult games, even if they’re within reach.
“We must look forward and make changes. We, the players, are the first ones responsible. In today’s football, everyone has a degree of responsibility.”
Verratti continued to discuss the now departed coach Ventura, who he admittedly has a lot of respect for, but is uncertain whether such a tactical approach can work on the international stage.
“He [Ventura] had a very tactical vision,” the PSG star added. “Maybe it works at club level, but it’s harder to absorb lots of tactics in just a few days. Sometimes when we had the ball, we got confused.
“Organisation is important, but you don’t do everything with tactics in the national team. I respect Ventura, he’s a bit like [Zdenek] Zeman.
“However, if you give Zeman a national team, it’d be hard to make everyone understand his ideas in such a short time.”