​Reported Chelsea defensive target Leonardo Bonucci has praised incoming Blues manager Antonio Conte after their Italy side cruised to a 2-0 win over Spain on Monday evening to qualify for the quarter-finals of the European Championships. 

Chelsea are expected to be making a move worth more than £30m for the Italian defensive rock as Conte looks to breathe new life into a Blues defence which floundered at times last season, and Bonucci admitted that he enjoys working with Conte – who also managed him at Juventus. 

He said: “Mr Conte is important as a coach that is able to really implement a game plan. He is more important in every match. I think that this process that started two years ago is absolutely essential. 

“This national side is shorn of great talent so we have to come together as a team. We have to have a playing style and I think that Antonio Conte really is the master in this area.”

He added: “We hope that will be the same instance post-match following the next game. It will be a huge game against the reigning world champions. They’ve got great players, they are a great unit but, as the coach has said, we need to be 23 men and 23 dreamers.

“Tonight we dreamed the match and played it in that fashion. There was a lot of desire to play football. Spain pressed us high a lot in the second half and we struggled to play our way out. But on the pitch, this team – not just a collection of players or a national side – this team deserved to go through and now we must focus on Germany.”

Italy will play Germany in the next round on Saturday night, the winner of that match setting up a semi final with the winner of Monday’s clash between France and Iceland. 


For more from Chris when he’s not writing on 90min, follow him on Twitter at @ThatChris1209!

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