Italy coach Cesare Prandelli has hit back at critics after a successful international week.
The Azzurri defeated Euro qualifying opponents Slovenia on Friday before an impressive friendly win against Ukraine.
"Yes, there is a more relaxed atmosphere and we've wiped out the post-World Cup pessimism," Prandelli told Ansa news agency.
"The criticism made us give a little bit more. My greatest satisfaction is seeing a group of lads who forge a team unit, a style of play and their own identity.
"They gave us up for dead, but we are very much alive. We can be an important squad even without world class individuals, although of course we do still have them, starting from Gianluigi Buffon."