Italy, Spalletti clarifies stance on Jorginho: ‘It’s my fault’

Italy, Spalletti clarifies stance on Jorginho: ‘It’s my fault’

Luciano Spalletti takes responsibility for Jorginho’s poor performance against Spain but suggests he may start a different central midfielder against Croatia on Monday.

Jorginho was subbed off at halftime during Italy’s 1-0 loss to Spain on Thursday, and a video of Spalletti raging at the Arsenal star went viral the day after the game.

“He must come and get the ball. Otherwise, there’s no point in him playing,” Spalletti said from the touchline before replacing the ex-Napoli star during the break.

Spalletti was asked to explain his stance on Jorginho during a press conference on the eve of the game against Croatia on Sunday and he appeared to take full responsibility.

“He was probably under par against Spain, but it all comes down to how the team plays as a whole. If we are able to keep the ball possession, great, but if we can’t, poor Jorginho, it is not his fault. It’s my fault,” the CT explained.

“This is what football is about. Jorginho has an incredible ability that none of the other players have. He tells everyone how to behave and we don’t have many of these players on the pitch. However, there are players who are pushing and have probably more energy than what Jorginho may naturally offer. He’s born with those qualities and with other issues, let’s call them this way. He can’t score many headers, but when he leads the team, he has this quality. We still strongly rely on Jorginho regardless of whether he plays or not for 45 minutes more.”

Nicolò Fagioli and Bryan Cristante are tipped to start in the middle of the park against Croatia, but more information on Italy’s possible line-up against Croatia will be released on Monday morning.

Italy will qualify for the Round of 16 with a win or a draw, but Croatia must win to finish as runners-up behind Spain who already won Group B with a game to spare.

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