Roberto Mancini, coach of Italy’s first football team, praised his players’ performance against England, noting that he showed a lot of hope for the future, even though the defending champions started their campaign in the 2024 European Championship qualifiers with a 2-1 defeat at home, Thursday.
Italy had already trailed 2-0 in their Group C tie in Naples before Matteo Retigi pulled one back 11 minutes into the second half.
“We started well with high pressure, which we didn’t do in the rest of the first half,” Mancini told RAI Sports. “I saw a great team in the second half and that bodes well for the future.”
Mancini said Gareth Southgate’s side excelled at set-pieces, helping England achieve their first victory over his team in Italy in 62 years despite Luke Shaw being sent off.
Mancini added: “England is dangerous with set-pieces. We allowed the first goal, I think, because of confusion, and then the penalty kick was also from a corner kick. I think we deserved to score at least one more goal after the break. We may have started a hard struggle this time, but hopefully we can finish it more smoothly.”
Although Retegi’s goal saved Mancini face, he was confident the 23-year-old Atletico Tigre player would continue to improve.
The Italian coach said about his new player: “He faced difficulties in the first half because England’s defenders were physically strong and limited his risk. He moved better after the break, but he is young and plays in Argentina, so he needs time.”
Italy heads to Malta the day after tomorrow, Sunday, to play its next match in the European Championship 2024 qualifiers.
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