Gareth Bale gave a brilliant response when asked about Roberto Mancini’s comparison between Wales and Stoke City.
Bale will spearhead the Welsh charge as Robert Page’s men take on Italy in Sunday night’s Group A showdown.
Ahead of the game, Azzurri boss Mancini was asked whether facing a physical Wales side would remind him of his trips to Stoke when he was Manchester City manager.
Mancini laughed at the comparison, before saying Wales have “very good technical players” in addition to their tough defensive qualities.
And Bale gave the Stoke talk short shrift when asked about it as he faced the media.
“I don’t know Stoke were that good,” said Bale, well known for his quips at Wales press conferences, after his side impressively defeated Turkey last week to put themselves within touching distance of a last-16 spot.
In the run-up to Sunday night’s game, Mancini was asked about his bruising clashes with Stoke, after his Man City team won just one of six visits to what was then the Britannia Stadium, as well as losing an FA Cup tie to the side who were then managed by Tony Pulis
However, he refused to rise to the bait after a reporter asked him if playing the Euro 2016 semi-finalists would be like facing the Potters.
“Stoke was a tricky place to go,” he said.
“Stoke had a very tough style of play, they were a tough nut to crack.
“But Wales have players like Allen, Bale and James, skilful, qualify players so it will be a difficult match from a physical perspective.
“Wales not only have very good technical players, physically they are a very powerful side.”
Meanwhile, after Wales upset the odds at the last European Championships, Bale is looking to do so against Italy, who are unbeaten in 29 games under Mancini.
“It would be a fantastic result for us if we were to beat Italy,” said the captain, who set up both goals in the win over Turkey despite blazing a penalty over the bar in between.
“Obviously we’d win the group and I guess have a slightly easier game going into the next round.
“For the Welsh fans to come and watch us is something we’d love to do. The aim for us is to win the group and then that game would be at Wembley, which would be great for Wales fans.”
While Italy have won their opening games against Turkey and Switzerland, Bale insisted they have weaknesses Wales can “exploit”, saying: “Italy play very good football, very attacking football, and don’t concede too many.
“They are a very well-equipped all-rounded team, but it doesn’t mean they don’t have weaknesses. We’ve worked on things and we definitely think there are areas we can exploit.”