Friday June 14 2013
Mangia counts Sacchi influence

Devis Mangia has reflected on Italy’s performance so far at the UEFA Under-21 Championship and on Arrigo Sacchi’s influence on his work.

The 38-year-old has taken the Azzurrini to the final four of this summer’s European Under-21 Championship in Israel, having seen the side top Group A.

“We're very happy, not just for what we've achieved but also for how we've achieved it,” enthused Mangia in an interview with UEFA’s official website.

“We've really put on a good display in terms of the quality of our play. These guys are representing Italian football very well.

“We're a positive side, we always want to take the game to our opponents, this is the most important thing.

“The only target we actually set ourselves was to get here, so this was our minimum goal. We knew it would be tough against the teams in our group but our lads have played well.

“We said we came here to dream. We're still dreaming now and let's see where this dream takes us.”

The Azzurrini face the Netherlands in the semi-finals.

“They made some big calls in terms of squad selection. They called up a number of players who have already played in the senior squad.

“They're a team who play at a really high level, they've got a lot of talent.”

Mangia reflected on how former Milan and Italy Coach Sacchi helped shape his philosophy on coaching.

“He was very important for me. I started to look at and analyse football in a different way when he was in charge of Milan and then the national team.

“His way of playing football was hugely influential.

“Of course it needs to be revised because that was a different era but there are some very important principles which are valid regardless of what year or football season it may be.

“Experiences to have helped me? My whole career has. I'm lucky enough to have coached at every level, with every age group.

“I've worked in Serie A, and there you work with both experienced players and young players. You have to want to improve your players.

“For me, the role of the Coach is not only to win matches but also to improve the players.

“It's important for them to remember they're wearing the Italian national shirt. The Italian national shirt symbolises not only great technical ability but also important moral values.

“So they must always remember that they're young guys who have the honour of wearing the Italian national shirt.”

The former Palermo tactician was asked of his current team and how good the players at his disposal really are.

“For us this is a quality U21 side. In Italy at the moment the young players, or at least in this age group, are doing well, and I believe they deserve to get a good run in their club sides.

“Not just because they're young but because they deserve to be.”

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