Italy coach Marcello Lippi has said that he doesn’t care who scores the World Cup qualifier against Bulgaria on Wednesday, provided his team scores a goal.
Italy’s strikers have come under fire from the Italian press recently as they have failed to convert any of the chances created in their last four matches.
No Italian player has scored a goal in that period, with the country’s only strikes coming from Georgia captain Kakha Kaladze, who scored two own goals in Italy’s 2-0 win in Tbilisi on Saturday.
“I don’t care, even if it’s a (goalkeeper) Buffon header or some other fantasy, I don’t care,” said Lippi.
“I just want it to go in, even if it deflects off a Bulgaria defender, the important thing is it goes in and we win.”
The reigning world champions head into their Group Eight match knowing a victory would virtually assure them of qualification for South Africa next year.
They lead the Republic of Ireland by one point with a game in hand while Bulgaria are a further five points back.
Victory would mean Italy needing to either draw away to Ireland or beat Cyprus at home in their last two matches to ensure they top the group.
“This match is not just important for me but also for the team and for the federation. It’s important because, although it can’t make us mathematically qualified, it can put us in a great position,” Lippi added.
Lippi says he will make changes to the team that struggled to break down Georgia, but insists that it is to do with fatigue rather than poor form.
“You have to change players when you have two games in a few days at the beginning of the season,” he said.
“In previous years I’ve always changed several players in September matches. With respect to other teams, our players don’t have 90 minutes in their legs and they aren’t able to recover enough, hence it gives me the chance to change several players.”
Roma midfielder Daniele De Rossi and Juventus left-back Fabio Grosso are expected to come into the side, while Lippi said he would freshen things up in attack to introduce. villarreal forward Giuseppe Rossi looks likely to step aside in favour of Napoli’s Fabio Quagliarella while Vincenzo Iaquinta could also lose his place to Alberto Gilardino.
As for Bulgaria, Lippi is wary of Manchester United forward Dimitar Berbatov.
“Berbatov plays for a great team and when great players play for great teams it brings out the best in them,” said the veteran Italy coach, who led his side to glory at the last World Cup in Germany.
“He’s a great player, he has very good technique and he knows how to score and create goals.
“We already played him in the return fixture (in Bulgaria) and he kept our players busy.”