Gianluigi Buffon defends under-fire manager Giampiero Ventura

Buffon defends under-fire boss Ventura
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Italy manager Giampiero Ventura should not be judged on results over the past month, according to skipper Gianluigi Buffon.

Italy captain Gianluigi Buffon has insisted that experienced manager Giampiero Ventura does not deserve to be criticised on the back of a couple of disappointing results.

The Azzurri were in strong contention to finish top of their World Cup qualifying group last month, only for points to be dropped in two of their last three outings.

A 3-0 loss to Spain, coupled with the 1-1 draw at home to Macedonia last time out, means that Italy will have to do things the hard way via the playoff route.

Former Torino boss Ventura has had to answer many questions following the abject display against Macedonia, but Buffon claims that it is wrong to single him out for abuse.

"The boss has gone down the route of bringing through young players, the only one possible," he told reporters. "And for a year there have been good results.

"It needs gradual progression. When you go through difficult moments at your club, you can also lose confidence playing in the national team. All of these things can be decisive when it comes to certain young boys.

"I don't think the attacks on the boss are correct. For a year, he was the right man and two matches can't ruin everything."

Italy travel to Albania in their final Group G outing on Monday night, with a playoff place already assured.

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