Thursday October 8 2020
Nicolato: 'U21s remain optimistic'

Italy Under-21 coach Paolo Nicolato ‘remains optimistic’ going into the European Championship qualifier with Iceland, despite losing key players.

It kicks off in Reykjavik on Friday at 16.30 UK time and the Azzurrini are currently second in Group 1 with 13 points, although leaders the Republic of Ireland have played one more game and are on 16.

The build-up to this match was marred by losing Marco Carnesecchi and Alessandro Bastoni, who tested positive for COVID-19 and had to leave the camp.

“They are two very important lads for us and it’s not pleasing to do without them,” said the CT in his press conference.

“We just have to look forward and say this is an important opportunity for some other lads to show what they can do. We might not be in a condition to do what we’d like right now, but I remain optimistic.

“The fact remains, we have to win, and these are three fundamental points. I realise the situation is not easy, but we’ve got to get a result, even in a stadium where all the other teams lost and we’ll be playing on a synthetic turf in difficult weather conditions.

“Iceland, like Sweden, never really stopped their season, whereas we are just starting to get into gear now. We’re doing better than a month ago, but are still not in great shape physically.”