Euro U21: Di Biagio claims he did a 'great job' despite Italy's early exit

Italy failed to reach the semifinal stage of the European Under-21 Championship but outgoing coach Luigi Di Biagio has defended his record.

Luigi Di Biagio, a former player with 31 Italy national football team caps, had been coaching the U21 side since 2013.   -  Getty Images

Luigi Di Biagio claims he did a "great job" as coach of Italy's Under-21 side despite their failure to reach the European Under-21 Championship semifinals.

Italy beat Spain and Belgium but a 1-0 defeat to Poland in its second match of the tournament cost it a place in the last four.

Di Biagio, who briefly led Italy's senior side last year, insisted developing young players for Roberto Mancini's squad was a higher priority than success at the U21 Euros.

 

"We must separate the results of these years from what happened at this tournament," he said at a news conference on Tuesday.

"I would say that a great job has been done. We have made many players grow, we have been competitive with many strong teams, many boys have gone to the senior national team."

"Then there are painful notes because the result is not positive, but it is not a failure for myself. I will no longer be the coach of the U21s."

Di Biagio claimed he rejected offers from Serie A clubs to remain with the Under-21 side, but said he is now open to approaches.

"I'm on the market. Serie A and Serie B clubs have been looking for me, but out of respect for the Italian Football Federation [FIGC], I have always said no," he added.

"Thanks to the growth of these years I feel ready for new challenges. I would have left anyway. I do not feel stimulated enough anymore."