Roberto Mancini saw ‘sadness’ in the Italy camp when he arrived, so he focused on young players and ‘a different way of playing’ to revitalise the Azzurri.
The coach took charge after Giampiero Ventura’s disastrous tenure, which saw them fail to qualify for the 2018 World Cup.
Now the Nazionale are unbeaten in over two years, qualified for Euro 2020 with a 100 per cent record and reached the Nations League Final Four.
“At the start of our journey together, there was a sense of sadness and disappointment at missing out on the World Cup,” Mancini said at the Social Football Summit.
“We decided to change, focusing on young players with great technical quality and trying a different way of playing. In a short space of time, this became a strong team.
“The lads did something wonderful in getting the fans back in love with the Nazionale and confirmed themselves to be a solid group.”
Euro 2020 has been postponed to next summer, followed by the Nations League Final Four in October 2021 against Belgium, France and Spain.
“It’s a pity we didn’t get to play the Euros this year, as we felt ready, but other interesting young players have since emerged and they could have an important future in the Azzurri jersey.”