Antonio Conte insists that Italy still have much work to do to eradicate the memories of their disappointing World Cup campaign.
Conte resigned from his role as Juventus coach and subsequently took control of the national team in August, with his Italy tenure starting with four straight wins and just one goal conceded.
However, the 45-year-old believes that more is required for Italy to be considered among the world's best teams, as the rebuilding process continues following their group-stage exit in Brazil.
"Italy is still reeling from a very disappointing experience that made us aware of the problems of Italian football," he said.
"In this moment we are behind nations that are doing better than us. I think about Germany, Spain - although they didn't do well in the last World Cup, they won many things before.
"I'm thinking about many teams, such as Netherlands, even Belgium and France. However, we know we have time to fill this gap.
"How can we do that? By working hard, with determination, trying to work with intensity, trying to progress under every aspect, tactically and mentally.
"In this moment what is important is we need to qualify for the Euros and we'll try to build something extraordinary and to play our best against anyone."
Conte's next challenge is a Euro 2016 Group H qualifier with Croatia at San Siro a week on Sunday.
Both teams have three wins from three, meaning that at least one 100 per cent winning record will come to an end, and Conte feels the game will act as a measure of the progress Italy have made under his stewardship.
"We are facing a proper team, they've just played a World Cup and they are aware of their strength," he added.
"We are rebuilding, but I am happy about playing this important game because it can give us an indication about where we are in our growth journey."