Wednesday October 10 2018
Mancini: 'Build on Italy positives'

Roberto Mancini praised the new Italy midfield after the 1-1 draw with Ukraine and will “build on the positives” against Poland in the Nations League.

The Azzurri failed to keep a clean sheet for the eighth consecutive game, but perhaps even more concerning have scored more than one goal only once in their last 10 matches.

“We need to be more clinical when we have the chance to score, because you win with goals. We struggled enormously to take the lead, despite all the opportunities we created, whereas Ukraine scored at their second shot.

“Unfortunately, that’s the way things are going at the moment and we need to work on it,” said the Coach in his Press conference.

Cagliari midfielder Nicolò Barella was given his debut and Marco Verratti made his first Italy appearance since March 23, joined by Jorginho.

“Every now and then, they did step on each other’s toes, which is to be expected after only two games together, but overall it was a very good game for 60 minutes. We lost our way a little and with the substitutions it always breaks up the momentum.

“Barella did very well on his debut and can improve a great deal.”

The Nazionale have won only one of their last 10 matches, a 2-1 friendly against Saudi Arabia, but they face a crunch Nations League meeting with Poland on October 14.

“I’m fed up of not winning and so is everyone. The positive thing is that today the team played good football for long periods. It was a friendly, so hopefully we can start winning on Sunday.

“It’s obvious fans are upset when their team doesn’t win, but we mustn’t listen to the jeers. If we had scored another goal, everyone would’ve been happy with the performance. I think it was just about the result.”

Mancini unveiled a new trident attack with Federico Bernardeschi and Lorenzo Insigne exchanging places as the False 9, along with Federico Chiesa. Do Italy need a more traditional centre-forward?

“The strikers did well. Chiesa still needs to get that hunger for goals, which Insigne and Bernardeschi already possess. They have the skills and qualities to score goals, but a centre-forward isn’t a problem, he can come in too.”

How will Italy change for the Nations League trip to Poland this weekend?

“We have to build on the positives from this evening. There are only four days, we have to travel too, so we’ve got to recover quickly.”

This friendly was organised in Genoa to help raise funds and awareness for those affected by the Ponte Morandi tragedy and play was halted at the 43rd minute to remember the 43 people who died on August 14.

“It was a touching moment and an important one for the victims of this horrible accident. Being the Italy Coach in my old stadium was particularly moving for me, just as it was in Bologna.”

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