If anyone knows what Roberto Mancini is going through, it’s Poland coach Jerzy Brzeczek, who had COVID-19 recently. ‘We mustn’t rely so much on Robert Lewandowski.’
It kicks off on Sunday at 19.45 GMT at the Mapei Stadium in Reggio-Emilia.
This is a head-to-head for top spot in Group A, as Poland are on seven points, Italy six and the Netherlands have five.
The first question to Brzeczek was about the fact he won’t be meeting Mancini on the touchline, as the Italy coach is still positive for COVID-19, so assistant manager Alberico Evani steps in.
“I know myself that the long wait for the all-clear does generate a lot of emotions. I had tests every two days and after the call came that the result was negative, I felt such relief and joy. Mancini is a great coach and former great player.
“I was fortunate enough to get back on the bench before the first game, while at the start of the training camp, we stayed in touch remotely. I assume Mancini is doing the same thing now.”
Brzeczek tested positive for COVID-19 on September 26, but was able to recover in time for the Nations League game with Italy on October 11.
“It’s not quite the same when you are in the middle of a match and want to convey your thoughts to the players straight away, but Mancini has his assistant manager on the bench and should provide interesting football.
“We’re aware that the Italy team is very strong and hasn’t lost in two years, so we’ll have to do our best.”
When asked to give some clues on his starting XI tomorrow, Brzeczek only confirmed Juventus goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny.
“We can’t expect to rely so heavily on Lewandowski, as we are trying to distribute the burden of goals to the other players as well. We need the whole team to deliver and not just Robert.
“We also don’t need a breakthrough game to change our fortunes, because we are already doing well and living up to expectations.”