Roberto Mancini believes that Italy does not require a significant overhaul of their squad despite their loss to England in the EURO 2024 qualifier
Italy’s national team had a rollercoaster ride of form under Roberto Mancini, winning EURO 2020, failing to qualify for the 2022 World Cup, making it to the Final Four of the Nations League, and starting the EURO 2024 qualifiers with a surprising loss.
It appears that the team’s form is constantly fluctuating, going from joy to sadness and back again.
“The first half started well, even though they got back into it and scored two goals from set plays,” said Mancini in his press conference.
“I saw an extraordinary team after the break, unfortunately, we didn’t get the 2-2, but so far we had always won and so statistically it had to happen eventually.”
England’s Declan Rice scored after a corner kick, while Italy’s Giovanni Di Lorenzo committed a handball offense during another corner kick, allowing Harry Kane to score a penalty and give England a 2-0 lead at halftime.
“We conceded two goals that were completely avoidable, we need to be more concentrated on set plays, especially as England are good in the air. We absolutely dominated the second half, without them having a shot on goal, whereas the first half was more balanced and we had difficulty building out from the back. They always found a way out.” Mancini said.
“However, after the break we decided to do something different and that was better.”
Mancini breaks down Italy’s defeat
Mancini wants to emphasize that the substitutions made by Italy were not necessarily the reason for the change in the team’s approach after the restart.
“We changed the game with the players who were already there, then clearly fresh legs help eventually too. I think this is positive, that we got angry at losing the game. We had always started strong in these qualifying campaigns and ended struggling, now we hope to do things the other way around.” Mancini added.
“Our players are still valid, they are not at the end of their careers. They are not 36-37 years old“Mancini
“There are still nine games to go. Italy-England can end in a defeat, there are other teams in the group, more matches to be played. We aren’t used to building momentum, but it might be a positive for us.”
Critics have accused Mancini of relying too heavily on players who won EURO 2020, including Jorginho, and not giving enough opportunities to new players.
“Our players are still valid, they are not at the end of their careers. They are not 36-37 years old, this is a top-level game and we needed players who were accustomed to this sort of situation. They can still give us a great deal.” Mancini hit back.
Despite being a risk as a debutant in the starting line-up for Italy, new boy Retegui scored a goal with an assist from Lorenzo Pellegrini, justifying his selection.
“He is young, has been with us for only three or four days and knows nothing about European football. He struggled in the first half, it is not easy to play against the England defense and his teammates didn’t help him much either. The wide players had to be more active. He moved much better after the break and got his goal too.” Mancini said about the youngster who he praised ahead of the match.