Italy coach Giampiero Ventura has debunked widespread reports that he has resigned after his team failed to qualify for next year’s World Cup in Russia.
Reports in Italy had earlier revealed that the 69-year old resigned immediately after Monday’s 0-0 draw with Sweden ensured that the Azzurris will miss the World Cup for the first time in 60 years. However the underfire coach revealed that he would speak to the Italian football federation president Carlo Tavecchio about his position.
Speaking after he turned up late for his post-match press conference, Ventura said: “I have not resigned, because I haven’t spoken to the president yet.”
“I’’m sorry for being late, but every player I had the privilege of working with, I wanted to salute individually.
“It’s a very heavy result to bear, because I was absolutely convinced – and tonight’s game confirmed it – that we had this ferocious desire to overcome the obstacle. I have been in football for many years and know what it’s like.
“I am proud to have been part of the Azzurri group. I am proud to have worked with great champions and with others who I hope will become champions.
“I am disappointed, because once again tonight I realised what the Nazionale means to the people. I thank the crowd at San Siro, who helped us to the last minute. It was unique and extraordinary. The fact we deserved to qualify is frankly secondary right now.” he added.
Speaking further, Ventura who signed a contract extension in August to keep him in the job until 2020 stated that he would “have to evaluate an infinity of issues” before deciding whether to continue.
In his words, he said: “We will meet with the federation and discuss it.”
“We will speak the way we always have done. There is a rapport with Tavecchio and the entire federation.”
When asked whether he will stay, Ventura said: “At this moment I don’t feel it is right to discuss that. We’ll see, we’ll discuss the situation and I’ll both speak and listen. Whatever is borne from that meeting will be accepted.”
He thereafter appeared to blame bad luck for Italy’s predicament. He said: “My biggest fault was that until the first leg in Sweden, we were exactly on track with what we expected.”
“The fault is that we went out effectively without conceding a goal, as it was a deflection.
“I’ve been in football for many years, so I can accept that dissonance. Any other comments are entirely futile. I cannot say more than I have already said.
“I apologise for the result, yes, but not for the effort and hard work. I do realise that the result is the most important thing.
“Tonight’s game showed that there was nothing broken in the Nazionale. All I can do now is apologise to the Italians for the result, but that doesn’t affect the professionalism, the hard work or the effort we put into this.” he concluded.