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Italy need fans' support in times of need - Giorgio Chiellini

Italy need fans' support in times of need - Giorgio Chiellini
From ESPN - October 6, 2017

Goalscorer Giorgio Chiellini has urged Italy fans to remain behind their nation as the Azzurri head into the uncertainty of the World Cup qualifying playoffs.

Supporters at Turin's Stadio Olimpico turned against the players and national head coach Giampiero Ventura as Macedonia were allowed to force a 1-1 draw that confirmed Italy will finish as Group G runners-up to Spain.

Chiellini, who scored just before half-time only to watch Macedonia substitute Aleksandar Trajkovski level in the final 15 minutes, is eager for his countrymen to put any disappointment behind them and focus on reaching Russia.

After the final whistle he said: "The secret will be hard work. The fans might well be disappointed but we must have their support at a time of need like this.

"It's a shame that we could not kill the game off after taking the lead, because we had nothing to lose really.

"Losing in Madrid [3-0 to Spain last month] might have dampened our spirits but we ca not just give up.''

Sections of fans were on Friday night calling for Carlo Ancelotti, recently sacked by Bayern Munich, to take the reins from Ventura and rescue a qualifying campaign which could end with Italy missing their first World Cup since 1958.

Former Torino boss Ventura was remaining optimistic about Italy's chances of heading into a double-header against a side like Portugal or Denmark in good shape and confident of success.

"The second half was disappointing,'' he told reporters. "We lost the rhythm we'd had in the first half.

"In football you ca not stop trying to impose your game on the opposition, it gets risky when you do that.

"There is still a game to play, then we will tackle the playoffs. We hope we will have some more players available.''

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