Monday, 18 August 2008

[Azzurri] Lippi regretted his exit

Italy coach Marcello Lippi admits he regrets leaving the post two years ago as he prepares once more to take his place on the Azzurri bench.

Marcello LippiLippi resigned after winning the World Cup in 2006 but took over the reigns again when Roberto Donadoni's contract was not renewed following a disappointing Euro 2008.

The 60-year-old took his first training session today ahead of Wednesday's friendly against Austria in France and is delighted to be back in the job.

"I immediately regretted leaving the national team," said Lippi. "How many times I told myself what an idiot I was.

"I also feared that I would never regain that which was most in my heart.

"But I told the President of the Federation that I was available, if things at the Euros didn't go right he knew he would be able to count on me for the future.

"Donadoni said that not everyone behaved correctly with him? He was certainly not referring to me."

Lippi is preparing to take charge of his 40th match as Italy coach, two years after his last one in Germany, where the Azzurri beat France to claim the World Cup.

And he believes he faces an easier task this time around.

"Two years ago there was the need to build a group from nothing," continued Lippi. "There was the need to make the people fall in love again with the national side.

"The pleasure at the victory was great also because of that.

"This time the squad is already there, it's only a matter of taking them forward. The elements which allowed us to win will be recreated."

He added: "I admit it's a group that are a bit old but I am certain they still have a lot to give. And on that base we will calmly bring in the best youngsters from the Under 21 side. It will be up to them to give enthusiasm and freshness.

"I want to start again with a good victory. The first time around we started with a defeat, as happened with (World Cup winning coach Enzo) Bearzot, who then won in 1982. But this time we want to be different."

Thirteen of Lippi's 20-man squad were part of the 2006 group, but the former Juventus coach insists they are all there on merit.

"The world champions aren't here because of gratitude, even if I will nourish that sentiment for life towards them," he added. "Who gets in to the national side does so on merit.

"Even people like (Alessandro) Del Piero, he is good and that's the only reason why he is here."

Lippi concluded by paying tribute to Roma President Franco Sensi, who died last night.

"He was honest, hard-working and without prejudice," he said. "I would like to offer my respects on the behalf of everyone involved in the national side and to give my thoughts to Rosella Sensi in particular."

Source: Sporting Life

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