Roberto Mancini insists Italy must not just stay at the same level that won them UEFA EURO 2020, but ‘get even better’ and welcomes Nicolò Zaniolo back to the squad.

The Azzurri are fresh from their Euros triumph at Wembley Stadium and tomorrow evening host Bulgaria in their 2022 World Cup qualifying campaign, kicking off at the Stadio Franchi at 19.45 UK time (18.45 GMT).

They are on a 34-match unbeaten run and so far won all three of their games in this group.

“I wish to thank the fans who supported us throughout the Euros. We must do what we know tomorrow and avoid distractions, as there is already so much at stake,” said the coach in his press conference.

“Tomorrow’s team won’t look very different to the one that played the EURO 2020 Final against England. We hope that moment can be the start of a whole era of Azzurri success, but then we’ve believed that for three years. It’s not just about winning, but trying to do it in a different way to the past. The World Cup is only 13-14 months away and we must continue like this.”

Mancini’s Italy were a revelation over the summer, but there are fears now that opponents will try to take counter-measures and neutralise their strengths.

“There can be variations on a theme from game to game, but what matters is that we want to take the initiative and have an attacking mentality. Over the last three years, we scored a lot of goals and conceded very few, so that balance becomes fundamental.

“Our team has achieved something great, but can get even better and that success must spur us on to do more. You can’t win all the time, but we aim to keep enjoying our football, as you give your best when doing something that you enjoy.”

There are some changes from the Euros, as Roma attacking midfielder Zaniolo returns from his second ACL rupture in under a year.

“His style of play is very physical, so he needs to be in good shape to really be effective. I hope he can make the most of his great qualities.”

Ciro Immobile had struggled in a 4-3-3 formation, but now that Maurizio Sarri has taken over at Lazio, it could help his Italy performances too.

“Ciro has always done well, he just needs to continue playing and not worry.”

3 thought on “Mancini: ‘Italy can get even better’”
  1. Why is Immobile on this team? He must be related to Mancini. What a waist’ just imagine if they had a decent payer instead of him.

  2. This match against Bulgaria would’ve been a good opportunity to introduce a new strike force, rather than just stick with the ineffective Immobile or Belotti. It was our weakest area at the Euros and needed to be addressed. I don’t know why Mancini hesitates to experiment here. Seems Ciro squanders 5 or 6 good chances before he buries one, very frustrating to watch at times.

  3. Immobile will improve under sarri, inzaghi made immobile play they way him and his brother played catching the ball prior to offside. Sarri more tactful and immobile will play between the lines and splitting defense with sarri tic tac toe passing.

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