Jacques Brunel has come under fire from one of his former players just days before the start of the Azzurri's World Cup campaign.
Veteran centre Mirco Bergamasco has accused Brunel of communicating with only a select group of players, while ignoring the rest.
Bergamasco missed out on selection for the World Cup, but insists his comments have nothing to do with that decision, and everything to do with Italy's recent struggles.
They lost all three of their warm-up games, and won just one game in the Six Nations, thanks to a late win in Scotland.
Italy kick off their World Cup campaign against France at Twickenham on Saturday, with Ireland, Canada and Romania also in their World Cup pool.
And Bergamasco, whose brother Mauro has been selected for his fifth World Cup, admits he's not holding out much hope of seeing his team reach the last eight for the first time.
"It's going to be very difficult on Saturday because Jacques hasn't been able to create a group, on or off the pitch," Bergamasco told RMC.
"Brunel can't speak to the players. He talks to four or five key players and forgets the rest. He doesn't talk and doesn't have contact with all the players.
"That's the main problem. You have to have a dialogue with the players, they are the ones on the pitch. You can't just focus on four or five players. You have to make all 31 players feel like they are part of the squad.
"I'm very pessimistic. I know that individually, they are very talented. If they manage to decide between themselves to play for themselves and create a squad, there will be some surprises.
"I hope they manage to do so. I know them, I have a lot of respect for them. But given the recent games, it will be very hard."