Conte urges patience from Italy fans
Antonio Conte has urged Italy fans to maintain their support for the national team ahead of Tuesday's friendly with England.
Conte is said to have recently received death threats from Juventus fans following the season-ending knee injury suffered by Claudio Marchisio in training for Saturday's 2-2 Euro 2016 qualifying draw with Bulgaria.
Italy host England at the home of the Turin club - who Conte left last July - with Eder, Roberto Soriano and Mirko Valdifiori all set to make their first starts for the senior team.
And, despite a stalemate at the weekend that left them two points behind Croatia in their qualifying group, Conte said: "The fans need to support Italy, so I think I have an excellent relationship with them. They know we're working hard.
"It's such a strange period for the Italian football system that we have to have the humility to realise where we are and how hard we have to work.
"We shouldn't be surprised that teams like Croatia are ahead of us. They've shown at this moment on the pitch that they're ahead of us.
"We have to be patient. I've been saying that for a while. We have to open our eyes, and grasp the reality of the situation.
"There's been a big turnover in terms of players and experience at every level and whenever there's a big turnover between generations you need patience.
"You need to allow the players to grow without being critical at every opportunity. We have to all be aware that there's a turnover in generations.
"A number of players are taking their first tentative steps into international football.
"Please don't slate them at the first opportunity as this is not good for the players, it's not good for my job and it's not good for Italian football."
Italy team to face England: Gianluigi Buffon; Andrea Ranocchia; Leonardo Bonucci, Giorgio Chiellini, Alessandro Florenzi, Matteo Darmian; Marco Parolo, Mirko Valdifiori, Roberto Soriano; Graziano Pelle, Eder.