Fernando Santos admits Portugal miss Cristiano Ronaldo but says his focus is solely on the pressing matter of reaching the Nations League Finals.
Juventus star Ronaldo is not expected to feature at international level until March at the earliest, although it appears his self-imposed exile could continue later into 2019.
The European champions, who underwhelmed in a last-16 exit at the World Cup, have performed well in their captain's absence, compiling a four-game unbeaten run.
Either a point away to Italy or home win over Poland would be enough to top Group 3 in Nations League A following recent victories over both opponents.
Portugal's head coach, however, has not forgotten Ronaldo's worth, the in-form attacker having struck eight times in Serie A this season.
"There's no team that could say they don't want to have Cristiano Ronaldo," Santos said.
"He is always important, he's the best player in the world, and that's all, that's enough.
"I hope his huge talent and his title of being the best in the world can be reflected by him winning next Ballon d'Or."
108 - Cristiano #Ronaldo has been directly involved in 108 Juventus shots in Serie A so far (88 shots, 20 chances created), at least 28 shots more than any other player in the top-5 European Leagues 2018/19. Boss. pic.twitter.com/AFzkrQPA3V— OptaPaolo (@OptaPaolo) November 12, 2018
On the prospect of Ronaldo returning in March, Santos added: "We'll see. We're still very far from this.
"We now have to focus on this great match, Italy against Portugal, which hopefully will come with a win for Portugal."
The Azzurri enter the match with renewed confidence following Roberto Mancini's first competitive victory in charge last month, a 1-0 defeat of Poland.
Santos praised his counterpart's work and drew comparisons between their playing styles, rejecting the view that Portugal have favoured a defensive attitude during his tenure.
"We're not a counter-attacking team, we've never been like this," the former Greece boss said.
"We know how difficult it is [to beat Italy] and we're prepared for it. At this moment, both teams have a similar style of football, so it'll be a great match."
12 de diciembre 2018
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|Van Dijk lauds ´fantastic´ Alisson|
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|Tension and anxiety got to Inter, laments Spalletti|
|Tuchel hails magnificent PSG as Red Star win seals last-16 spot|
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11 de diciembre 2018
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|Composed and controlled Liverpool see off Napoli to progress|
|Tenerife back to winning ways, AEK beat Hapoel|
|Howedes ´hurt´ after emotional Schalke return ends in defeat|
|Kane ´buzzing´ over ´not bad´ draw at Barcelona|
|Robertson hails Alisson´s ´unbelievable´ save as Liverpool progress|
|Red Star Belgrade 1 Paris Saint-Germain 4: Neymar brilliance helps secure Group C top spot|
|Inter 1 PSV 1: Icardi header not enough for the Nerazzurri|
|Liverpool 1 Napoli 0: Superb Salah sends Reds through|
|Club Brugge 0 Atletico Madrid 0: Simeone´s men miss out on top spot|
|Barcelona 1 Tottenham 1: Lucas rescues Spurs late on to secure progress|
|Monaco 0 Borussia Dortmund 2: Guerreiro double snatches top spot from Atletico|
|Butler´s groin strain ´nothing significant´ – 76ers coach Brown|
|Woakes, Curran among leading lights at IPL auction|
|Blue Jays release five-time All-Star Tulowitzki|
|Mourinho: Professionals care more than the fans|
|Casillas reaches 100 Champions League wins|
|Expansion franchise Cincinnati sign Garza, send Kamara to Rapids|
|Manchester City sign United States goalkeeper Steffen for reported £7m|
|Schalke 1 Lokomotiv Moscow 0: Russians miss chance for Europa League reprieve|
|Galatasaray 2 Porto 3: Terim´s men into Europa League after penalty drama|
|Jackman leaves Dragons role|
|Tottenham boosted as Barcelona bench Messi|
|Mane and Henderson in Liverpool XI to face Napoli|
|Mourinho shoots down question over how to get the best from Pogba|
|Ronaldo to start as Allegri aims to avoid Champions League big guns|
|Odriozola: I´m in love with Benzema, he´s the best number nine in the world|
|Vikings fire OC DeFilippo after loss to Seahawks|
|Marcelino suggests Valencia open to Batshuayi departure|
|Bottas to make rally debut in title-winning M-Sport Ford Fiesta|
|Kovac dismisses Pavard speculation|
|Yaya Toure leaves Olympiacos after just five appearances|
|Riise challenges Liverpool to banish Champions League disappointment against Napoli|
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|More must be done to combat racism at Premier League grounds – Chalobah|
|Napoli will not sack ´big signing´ Ancelotti if they miss Champions League qualification, says De La|
|Guardiola not interested in ´exceptional´ Saul|
|Shai gives Windies hope with thrilling ODI run chase|
|Ten Hag unsure whether to risk Ajax stars against Bayern|
|Erasmus to work with Bulls as Springboks assist Super Rugby sides|
|Paul Gascoigne pleads not guilty to sexual assault|
|Joshua is ´begging´ for unification fight, claims Wilder|
|Silva, Fernandinho add to Guardiola´s injury woes|
|Hosszu storms to 14th gold, Seto smashes Le Clos´ world record|
|Raheem is an incredible human being - Guardiola rallies behind City star Sterling|
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|He´s good at basketball – Kerr running out of superlatives for Curry|
|Green thrilled to make Warriors return in victory over Timberwolves|
|Madrid squad great and humble - Solari responds to Ronaldo|