Saturday September 7 2019
Mancini: 'Constant Italy improvement'

Roberto Mancini insists Italy face their “toughest game” in qualifying as they visit second-place Finland in their Euro 2020 qualifier.

It kicks off in Tampere on Sunday at 19.45 UK time (18.45 GMT).

The Azzurri have a 100 per cent record, but Finland’s only defeat was against Italy in the opening round back in March.

“We must always improve. I don’t think our performance against Armenia was bad, but this is a completely different game and we hope for a victory,” the Coach told Rai Sport.

“It is the toughest game of the entire group. This is still the beginning of our journey with a young squad, so we ought to see constant, gradual improvement.”

Finland are currently in second place in Group J and have won four on the bounce, so a victory here would put them joint top with Italy.

“There are no easy games, other than maybe Liechtenstein, but even that is becoming tougher. Finland won every match except for against us, they haven’t conceded in five in this stadium, so they are a solid side.

“We must try to create as many scoring opportunities as possible and to finish them off.”

Mancini was asked if there would be any changes to the starting XI, with Lorenzo Pellegrini tipped to step in.

“I have to evaluate everyone’s fitness levels, especially as we had a four-and-a-half hour flight yesterday.

“Pellegrini has fresh legs and is certainly an option to start, as he only played the final half-hour in Armenia.”

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