Leonardo Bonucci apologises over state of Italy dressing room after North Macedonia loss
'We'll pay more attention in the next matches, we apologise'
Leonardo Bonucci has apologised on behalf of the Italian national team after a video emerged which showed the state they left their dressing room in after their play-off defeat to North Macedonia last week.
Aleksandar Trajkovski's added-time winner ensured Italy will miss their second successive World Cup, while North Macedonia will face-off against Portugal in a match to decide who will travel to Qatar later this year.
Following the match, video footage showed that empty plastic bottles, used tissues and food waste had all been left on the floor of the dressing room at Palermo's Stadio Renzo Barbera.
Bonucci says Italy will 'pay more attention' next time
The reigning European Champions were criticised for the state of the changing room, and Juventus defender Bonucci admitted that it was a 'big mistake'.
As reported by Football Italia, Bonucci, speaking ahead of Italy's game with Turkey on Tuesday, said: "It was a big mistake, next time, we'll pay more attention.
"We were very disappointed and we didn't think that these details make the difference sometimes. We'll pay more attention in the next matches, we apologise."
Italy's communication chief, Paolo Corbi, also apologised but added that the dressing room wasn't actually left in the condition as shown in the video.
He said: "It's an aspect that we underestimated and we've already apologised to Palermo Calcio.
"We had to catch the flight for Coverciano and there was a huge disappointment even if, we must say, the state of the dressing room when we left was not exactly the one shown in the video. It was not all down to us."
La manière dont la Nazionale a laissé le vestiaire suite à l'élimination contre la Macédoine du Nord... C'est la première fois qu'une équipe laisse le stade dans un état aussi pitoyable que ça.
J'ai pas les mots, la honte. pic.twitter.com/V9v0kwxlab
— Palermo F.C 🇫🇷🇧🇪 (@palermefc) March 26, 2022
Roberto Mancini's men - who defeated England on penalties to win the European championship last summer - were expected to comfortably secure their spot at the World Cup in Qatar. However, the Azzurri finished second in their group behind Switzerland and were knocked out by North Macedonia.
Failing to qualify for the World Cup is 'tough', admits Bonucci
The 34-year-old Bonucci admitted that failing to qualify for the World Cup is 'tough' and that they must start to rebuild following the disappointment.
"The hours after the eliminations have been tough. We remained quiet during our moments together, like team lunches or dinners. That was the most challenging part, " he said.
"We tried to play down the disappointment by saying that young players will have other opportunities, while the older ones like myself only had one last chance.
"After the coach spoke to us, we put the past behind our shoulders and we re-connected with the future. The future is now so we must start again to rebuild and get what we didn't achieve. We have a solid base to come back."
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