Italy CT Roberto Mancini admitted he’s spoilt for choice after the 1-0 win over Wales on Sunday. ‘It’s better to have everyone at our disposal rather than not having the option’.
Italy secured another three points and completed a perfect group stage, without conceding and scoring seven in the process.
Mancini was ‘pleased’ to see the Azzurri continue to impress after making eight changes to the starting line-up on Sunday.
“I was very pleased to see that I changed eight players and yet the team played well, could’ve scored more goals against a side that was very defensive,” said the coach in his press conference.
“When they went down to 10 men, they went even more defensive with everyone behind the ball. It’s not easy to find spaces in a situation like that.
“We were distracted on two set plays and almost paid a price for those, so we should’ve been more careful.”
Sassuolo players Domenico Berardi and Manuel Locatelli have been decisive in the first two games, whilst Atalanta duo Rafael Toloi and Matteo Pessina did well in the final game against the Welsh.
“Our players are accustomed to this style because we tried to propose this type of football from the first day,” Mancini said about the mix of characters in the squad. “There are also some clubs who play it too, so they have no problem adapting.”
Marco Verratti returned with a great performance in the middle and took over the captaincy when Leonardo Bonucci was substituted at half-time.
Mancini was asked about the Paris Saint-Germain midfielder’s battle with Manuel Locatelli in the middle, as the Neroverdi man scored twice against Switzerland last time.
“It’s better to have everyone at our disposal and ‘suffer’ by leaving someone very talented out rather than not having the choice,” Mancini said.
“We’ve been doing that since the start, there are so many players who deserve to be there and we have to make choices.”
Italy are through to the last 16 as Group A winners and face the runners-up in Group C in the last 16.
“A different tournament kicks off now. If the lads continue like this, then I could not ask for more,” the CT added.
“We hope to play well and then return to Wembley further on in the competition.”
The semi-finals and Final are due to be played at Wembley Stadium, although that could possibly change if the third COVID wave continues to grow in England.