Cesare Prandelli says Italy “must have the courage to change” if they are to continue their recent progress and become tournament winners again.
Speaking at a press conference, Prandelli said that if the Azzurri - beaten 4-0 by Spain in the Euro 2012 final in Kiev - managed to win a European Championship, they would “win and then win again”.
But he warned clubs that he needed to spend more time working with players, indicating that they had refused to co-operate by releasing their players to take part in the two-monthly training sessions he wanted to hold in order to run the rule over potential future internationals.
“Football can be used as a vehicle for change,” he said. “We are an old country with old ideas, and we must have the courage to change. We came to the tournament with a desire to change, and we need the strength to believe.
“Although it is difficult, we have to bind the way we play with results. We have constructed a national team with the mentality of a club team, but we are perhaps still not ready to win a European Championship. But when we are, we will win and then win again.”
The coach, who said on Saturday that he was delighted to have rekindled fans’ enthusiasm for the national team by reaching the final, stressed the importance of bringing younger players through if Italian momentum is to be maintained.
He said an important part of that would be being allowed to work with a mixture of club players every two months in order to identify new talent.
“When there is an idea, there is a desire to start on a path and a technical project,” he said. “We have to try to find players who have the potential to take over from people like Andrea Pirlo, even if I hope that he plays on for two more years.
“We want to work with these players and see how they are progressing at two-month intervals. If I only have three training sessions every eight months, I’m not sure that will be good enough. I’m a coach who works on the field of play.”
He said Spain provided evidence that sticking to a “project” and philosophy brought obvious rewards, and expressed the hope that the Italians could follow their lead, saying: “We need to revolutionise the Italian football movement.”
Some reports had suggested that Prandelli - with two years still to run on his Italy contact - was considering whether to stay if he felt co-operation for his planned revolution might be lacking.
But the coach said: “I’ve decided to stay because I can see that the [Italian football] federation, like me, want to change things. I am convinced that there is a desire for us to follow the path we want to take.
“There has to be some sensibility when it comes to the national side. Nobody cares about the national side outside of competitions, where everybody becomes patriotic.”
Prandelli was applauded into the press conference by journalists, and told them: “We can be and must be proud of this Italy, satisfied with the team. I have an idea of how football should be played, and your applause demonstrates that you believe in it too.”