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Mancini claims lessons could be learned from their Nations League experience

Roberto Mancini found more reasons to be optimistic than pessimistic about Italy’s Nations League campaign, as they secured a third-place finish by defeating the Netherlands 3-2.

The coach acknowledged previous mistakes in their 2-1 loss to Spain and decided to make seven changes to the starting lineup, reverting from the 3-5-2 experiment to the familiar 4-3-3 formation.

Goals from Federico Dimarco and Davide Frattesi gave the Azzurri a 2-0 lead within the first 20 minutes, but the Dutch team managed to stay in the game with goals from Steven Bergwijn and Gini Wijnaldum, sandwiching Federico Chiesa’s solo strike. Mancini noted that the team has been exploring interesting tactical solutions throughout the tournament.

“The first half was very good and an enormous effort, as everyone was so tired and it showed in the second half. Being able to hold out under that pressure is a good sign,” Mancini told RAI Sport.

Giacomo Raspadori, Mateo Retegui and Willy Gnonto were the starting trident, but substitutes Chiesa and Nicolò Zaniolo provided a different way of attacking, which in turn is again a development from Ciro Immobile in the first match against Spain.

“We have some interesting tactical solutions, we changed in the second half with Chiesa and Zaniolo wide, whereas we were more rapid and light upfront in the first half. The defence fought to the end.

“It was important to win, this is a prestigious tournament.”

Torino center-back Alessandro Buongiorno received special praise for his performance as he demonstrated his versatility in adapting from a three-man defense, typically used at his club, to a back four formation.

“It was not easy, especially as he is not used to this style of football, but Buongiorno was excellent and really applied himself well.”

Ethan Dempsey
Ethan Dempsey
Ethan is a lifelong football fan. When he is not obsessing over the Premier League games, Ethan likes to read fantasy tomes, watch football documentaries and waste hours upon hours on video games.
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