Tuesday October 15 2019
Mancini: 'Italy not far behind the best'

Roberto Mancini maintains sides like France, Belgium, Spain, the Netherlands and Germany are “not that far ahead” of Italy going into Euro 2020.

The Azzurri qualified for the tournament with three games to spare after winning seven out of seven, while it could be eight tonight against Liechtenstein.

“We’re playing again after three days, so it’s a chance for some players to rest and others to make their mark,” the Coach told Rai Sport.

“Stephan El Shaarawy has been around the Italy squad for a while, so he’ll get his opportunity at some point during the game.

“Sandro Tonali is the player who has impressed me the most over the last year and can improve a great deal more. Gaetano Castrovilli is a good profile, even after only a few Serie A appearances. Andrea Pinamonti, Gianluca Scamacca, Riccardo Sottil, they all have great potential and we have the possibility of calling them in future. The same goes for Riccardo Orsolini.

“It’s important for us to keep winning, as that helps everyone feel better, then we’ll wait and see who we get in the Euro 2020 final draw.”

Mancini said after the 2-0 win over Greece on Saturday that Italy were not too far off the Euro 2020 favourites and he hasn’t changed his mind.

“There are national teams that started their development earlier and so are certainly at a more advanced stage. I don’t think they are that superior to Italy, we are getting closer and will see in a year where we are.

“For example, France are World Champions and won that trophy with some very young players, so can improve a great deal. Belgium are doing well with talented players, the Netherlands are like us renewing, as are Germany.

“Spain won the European Under-21 Championship, but we were unlucky in that tournament and Italy deserved to win it. These are all strong teams, but I don’t think they are that far ahead of us. We’re working on it.

“Every Coach has his working method. I said from the start that I hoped one day to be compared to someone who won a World Cup or a European Championship.”

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