Nicolo Barella’s mood after Italy’s 3-0 win over Group A rivals Switzerland in the second round of the European Championships was one of praise for his teammates as much as personal triumph.
Speaking in a post-match interview, reported by Italian news outlet FCInterNews, the Inyer midfielder stressed the importance of teamwork and togetherness to the Azzurri’s success.
Sassuolo midfielder Manuel Locatelli got on the scoresheet twice in the Azzurri’s 3-0 triumph, with Lazio striker Ciro Immobile providing the third.
However, for Nerazzurri player Barella, the real heart of the success was down to the ability of the team to work together and function as a cohesive unit.
He praised the mood around the squad, and believes that the quality of the performance on the pitch reflects the understanding between the players and their attitude of wanting to succeed together.
About the Azzurri’s squad Barella had this to say:
“It is a close group, we want to do well and win, everyone is enthusiastic. Both on and off the pitch there is a great atmosphere, and we are trying to win and prove ourselves.”
Barella was not sure how the Azzurri midfield might lineup with the likely return of PSG midfielder Marco Verratti to fitness:
“Locatelli does not have to leave, I could too,” he laughed, stressing that the Sassuolo player won’t necessarily be replaced in the lineup by Veratti.
“But as I have always said, anyone who plays well in this team does so because they put themselves at the service of the entire team and help us all.”
The 24-year-old stated that Italy will play with their full effort against Wales despite the fact that progression to the knockouts being confirmed with tonight’s win:
“We will play to win because that is our mentality, and getting through the group with all victories would improve the mood and inspire us to win more.”
Barella was circumspect about whether he had hit peak form at the tournament, stating:
“I can definitely say that I am happy when my teammates score, I don’t have to score a goal to be happy.”