Italy 1-0 Scotland: Defeat 'clears picture' for Gordon Strachan

Gordon Strachan
Gordon Strachan says he now knows how to "deal with" an opponent's 3-5-2 system

Scotland manager Gordon Strachan says Sunday's friendly defeat by Italy in Malta has shown him how to combat the Azzurri's 3-5-2 system.

The Scots failed to register a shot on target, losing 1-0.

"We've got a clear picture of one or two things - that was great for us to see tonight," said Strachan.

"So when we come up against that system, we know right now, unless something changes drastically, how we're going to deal with it."

Strachan bemoaned Scotland's lack of accurate distribution - a slackness that proved detrimental to the team's capacity to build possession and momentum, and create chances.

"I counted about eight or nine passes we gave away which you'd think we'd keep and do better," said the manager. "No matter what system you use, if you can't do that you can understand it.

"There might be some factors that some of the players have been away, some have been rested for a while, whereas the Italian lads have been on top of their game right until now.

"That's a problem for us, because a lot of people are playing the Championship, not at a top European level. And you're also playing against the Juventus back-three and the goalkeeper who are fantastic.

"We'd have liked to have done more, but we know it's partly down to them and partly down to us.

Matt Ritchie
Scotland were inaccurate in possession and failed to create many goalscoring chances

"That clears the picture, so you now understand exactly what you need going into the top games.

"You can't get offensive if you can't pass the ball to each other. It's still the biggest secret in the game - whatever any coach tells you about systems, it's about players being able to beat people and pass, and we keep coming to this conversation every time. It's something I know, I wish somebody would just listen to me."

Ahead of the second friendly, against France in Metz on Saturday, Strachan added playing the Italians was an invaluable experience for his players.

"We've got a young squad here, it's been a great learning for them just to watch it, never mind play against it," he said.

"We as a nation need to think about what we're doing, and reiterate what we've been trying to do for the last year. It's a learning curve, not only for us, and I hope the whole of Scottish football understands what you need to be a top player now."

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