Monday September 10 2018
Mancini shrugs off relegation

Roberto Mancini reiterated that Italy’s main objective is “to form a squad for Euro 2020,” even if that means Nations League relegation.

The Azzurri began the tournament with a 1-1 home draw to Poland, then lost 1-0 away to Portugal, leaving them bottom of the group.

“Portugal won their first game, so that makes them the favourites to take the group, but I think it’s all still open,” said Mancini in his Press conference.

“We don’t like losing, but it’s also true that we have to take some risks in these games and help players gain experience. Otherwise, it’ll take longer to get everyone up to speed. It’ll be a struggle, but that doesn’t mean we won’t try.

“We knew there were problems in this squad, because otherwise Italy would’ve qualified for the 2018 World Cup. There were some debutants in these games and they did some positive things.”

There is the very real risk that by using the Nations League to experiment – tonight changing nine out of 10 outfield players from the Poland game – Italy will get relegated from the A League to the B League for the next edition.

“We don’t want that to happen, of course we’d love to top the group and you never know what could happen in football,” added Mancini.

“We’ll wait and see, but our objective is to form a squad for Euro 2020.”