Thursday September 5 2019
Mancini: 'Red card penalised Italy'

Roberto Mancini felt Armenia going down to 10 men “penalised us, as they just focused on defending,” while Stefano Sensi will play for Italy in Finland.

Andrea Belotti bagged a brace around Lorenzo Pellegrini’s glancing header for a 3-1 victory, but it was 1-1 for a long time even after the hosts went down to 10 men.

“I don’t know if it was our worst performance. I said it would be difficult, because easy games no longer exist,” the Coach told Rai Sport.

“We didn’t start well, conceded a goal, but could’ve turned it around before half-time. In a way, the red card penalised us, as Armenia just focused on defending with 10 men and didn’t allow any spaces. If they’d had 11, they would’ve pushed forward more.

“People think we Coaches just say these things to prepare their players, but the truth is Armenia were physically superior today and are mid-way through their seasons.

“We did what we needed to, we need to do more, but we’re working on it. Bernardeschi isn’t at 100 per cent, Chiesa had a difficult summer, but they try to give their all.

“We ran a few risks on the counter in the second half, but that has to be our mentality, to always go on the attack.”

Marco Verratti is suspended against Finland on Sunday after his third yellow card in five qualifying games.

“I didn’t see what happened, but never mind, Sensi will play on Sunday.”

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