Sinisa Mihajlovic urged Italy fans to have patience and trust Roberto Mancini, but also didn’t think much of his False 9 approach to Poland.
The Nations League showdown kicks off this evening at 19.45 UK time (18.45 GMT).
All reports point to Ciro Immobile being dropped again in favour of a trident with Federico Bernardeschi, Lorenzo Insigne and Federico Chiesa.
“You play with a False 9 only when you don’t have a proper centre-forward,” Mihajlovic told Sky Sport Italia.
“It’s the striker who ultimately scores goals and makes the difference. Italy have Immobile, who has been scoring for many years, while Il Gallo (Andrea Belotti) is struggling a little right now, but remains an important forward.
“Mancio knows better than us what he needs to do. They played well against Ukraine and could impress in Poland, but don’t score enough goals.”
Mihajlovic has been close friends with Mancini for decades, as they played together and then Sinisa became his assistant manager at Inter.
“We ought to have faith in Mancini and the Nazionale. It’s difficult to finish first in the Nations League group, but it’s more important not to get relegated.
“Mancini called up a lot of young players, just as I did when I took over at Serbia. When you are enacting this sort of generational shift, it requires patience and a bit of luck.
“Unfortunately, there is never much patience in Italy. Nonetheless, with players like Bernardeschi, Chiesa and Insigne, in two years Italy will be able to have their say at Euro 2020.”