A defiant Gianluigi Donnarumma claimed he will have his “head held high” following Italy’s 5-2 defeat away to Germany in the UEFA Nations League on Tuesday.
Germany were leading 5-0 at one point in Monchengladbach and wearing the captain’s armband, the Azzurri goalkeeper had a particularly embarrassing night, with Timo Werner denying him the ball before making it 4-0.
Goals from Wilfried Gnonto and Alessandro Bastoni provided little comfort in late Italy but for the inexperienced team, Tuesday’s defeat was a bad reminder of international football error.
Asked if foot-footing was a factor he needed to improve after the game, after receiving his package on his way out of the Champions League in Paris Saint-Germain, the 23-year-old responded angrily.
“When did it happen before? When I was badly played against Real Madrid? If we want to create a controversy over these things, that’s fine,” Donnarumma told RAI Sport. “I’m here to speak for the team. If you want to blame me, well, I’ll blame you, I’m the captain and I keep raising my head.
“I think you all are trying to do something about these mistakes, okay.
“We are angry. No excuses, we have to go back there and prove it is not us. There are no excuses.”
The Azzurri sit third in Group A3 after drawing twice and winning their first three games but following their UEFA / CONMEBOL Finalissima defeat, Tuesday’s defeat must return to the field.
Donnarumma suggested that end-of-season fatigue was the cause, but it was not important for Italy’s performance in Germany.
“We were short of everything tonight,” he said. “There was another fatigue after four games in 15 days at the end of the season, but we do not want to look for alibi. Now we will look into each other’s eyes and analyze everything.
“We’re really disappointed with the fans, for what they saw tonight. We got a few chances, but it’s not good enough. We’ll analyze everything and start again.
“We all made mistakes. I could have dealt with the situation better 4-0 and kicked it away, but you learn from the mistakes and grow. Now we have to relax and get stronger again.”