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Mancini: ‘England are one of the best teams in the world’

Italy coach Roberto Mancini believes England are on the best teams in the world, so the Azzurri will need to play with ‘team spirit’. The national team coach was speaking at Coverciano ahead of Italy’s Nations League match tomorrow evening and touched on the importance of the togetherness of his squad:

There is always enthusiasm, especially in view of such a beautiful game. At stake there are points for a very open group, there is necessarily enthusiasm. Tonali never trained with us, we tried to get him fit for Budapest but he is not very well and I think we will send him home.

How will you play tomorrow?

“If changing the system meant you could win every game, then every game it would be changed… I don’t think it’ll change much, our national team has an identity that is what has led us to do well for so long.”

What worries you most about tomorrow’s challenge?

“I’m not worried, it’s a game we face and it’s a delicate moment for us. Being physically at the beginning of the season they are better, but we are excited to play a good game.

Tomorrow’s match should remind everyone of something…

“…having won a European Championship after 50 years I think it was something important. Having few Italian players playing in the Italian league can be a problem but we can’t go back to this every time.”

What does this Nations League represent? Do the absences weigh as much in your ratings?

“I don’t think form leads us to win. On the form, the coach must adapt to the type of players he has. Four years ago we built the team in this regard, because we had technical players, and we went that way. Then, the systems are all known: it depends on the players you have available…. At this moment we can also change, but we are evaluating until the end. Going to the final phase of the Nations League would give us a little more joy since up to December, there will be suffering.”

Bonucci said it is for people with small brains to whistle those who play for the Azzurri. Do you want to launch an appeal?

“I believe football is emotion and sometimes a fan whistles because he felt betrayed by his idol… Then it is clear that this is the national team, if fans don’t whistke, it would be better.”

Would it be risky to rely on Gabbiadini or Zerbin and Cancellieri?

“Gabbiadini we wanted to call earlier, but he had physical problems. We were looking for a left-sided winger and there aren’t many, he’s doing well enough and we’ll see if he has the chance to play.”

What will be the points of reference for those who play?

“The team has a spirit, they have been playing together for many years and they know what they have to do in these games. It will be a very tough game. There must be the team spirit that has always distinguished our national team and then we must try to play well. Playing simple is always the best thing.”

What is the difference between present England and 2020 England?

“The English national team is a great national team… It is a young team and can improve further, even if it has lost two games with Hungary. They arrive at the end of the season quite tired, they play many games  during the year.”

What do you think are the strengths of England?

“I consider England one of the best teams in the world, full of talent. In attack they have many players, it will be a difficult game.”

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