Italy CT Roberto Mancini expects a ‘balanced’ Coppa Italia Final, claims Napoli coach Gennaro Gattuso is more than a driving force and wants to see Juventus talisman Cristiano Ronaldo 'start from the left'.
The Coppa Italia Final is upon us and the Azzurri CT shared his thoughts ahead of the showpiece, when the Bianconeri goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon aims to equal his all-time record of six titles.
“If anyone must match my record, I’m happy that it’s someone like Buffon,” Mancini told La Gazzetta dello Sport. “But I’m not surprised by the lack of fluency at Juve after the long period inactive.
“It will take at least five to six games before teams recover their real football. I expect a very open and balanced game and not only because the Finals are special games.
“I expect it because Napoli are strong, very strong, better than the League table says.”
Coach Gennaro Gattuso has revived Napoli after taking over in December and Mancini claims he has improved with the years.
“Those who thinks he’s only a motivator are wrong. Rino has developed with every season. Every year he grew a little. He has accumulated knowledge and experience, including suffering, even abroad.
“He has coached a team like Milan, where he did well.”
Sarri has received criticism during his first year with the Old Lady but Mancini points out that the Juventus coach didn’t have an easy task.
“Taking over a team that has been winning for many years and keeping them in front is not as easy as it seems,” Mancini confessed. “He has transmitted his ideas and they are visible.
“The play is more solid, less vertical. The team follows him.”
But the Azzurri boss thinks Ronaldo should play at left in the attacking trident.
“I’m more convinced when he starts from the left. He finds more space to finish. But a champion like him always finds the right position on the pitch.
“Juventus have many decisive players, too many, the others might say…
Dries Mertens scored the goal that sent Napoli through to the Coppa Italia Final and became the all-time leading goalscorer of the Partenopei in the process.
“Mertens has the characteristics to create problems in defence for Juventus.”
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