Roberto Mancini eyes new era with Italy but warns Azzurri may ‘suffer’ first


Roberto Mancini vowed to start a new era with Italy as the Azzurri look to rediscover their Euro 2020 magic, but warned not to expect instant fixes as he cannot “invent players”.

Italy lifted the European Championship last July, for the first time since 1968, with England winning on penalties at Wembley.

The Azzurri followed suit by failing to win a second World Cup in a row, following the defeat of the North Macedonia final in March, which led to questions about coach Mancini’s tenure.

Development problems have also been highlighted by an Italian program that has been criticized for struggling to produce young players in the national team as Serie A coaches are reluctant to trust the youngsters.

Italy lost 3-0 to Argentina in the ‘Finalissima‘ on Wednesday, a meeting between the Euro 2020 winners and the Copa America champions, with Mancini promising a change after that match.

The former Manchester City coach reiterated his initial desire for Italy, although he did not expect a quick solution before the Nations League opener at home in Germany on Saturday.

“Winning the European Championship is part of the magic that is part of that tournament. Now we have to start and get back to that magic,” he told reporters on Friday.

“I have never had a problem like this before. Yet in football when you win everyone becomes with you and when you lose almost everyone is against you. That’s right.

“In Argentina, we paid for the loss of players, one after the other. We were not a big team and the injury affected us: Argentina was better than us, with new players and maybe the first game in three and a half years where we got a team that put pressure on us or made two goals in the first half.

“It takes time, we will not be able to establish players and we know we have to suffer enough.

“Restart from now. A new cycle begins again from tomorrow.

“The same approach is the same: looking for players with quality, speed, who will not be the same as [Marco] Verratti and Jorginho who played for certain teams so it will take a while.

“If we can give a few minutes to those who have never played in the national team, and see them well integrated, it would be better.

Italy will host Germany and Hungary before a visit to England on June 11, with a trip back to Hansi Flick’s side three days later to close out the international tournament this month.

Mancini believes that England and Germany are doing two of the most difficult tasks in international football at the moment, and has named Brazil, France and Argentina among the favorites of the World Cup in Qatar.

“We are facing two strong teams at the moment, Germany and England,” he added. “They are among the best, they have good players and we risk a lot of change, it could be a good start.

“The most important thing will be to defend well and attack better. We are facing one of the strongest teams in the world and Brazil, Argentina, France …

“Germany is smart, very fast when they attack and they will press. They will be among the favorites to win the World Cup in Qatar.

“We have to defend ourselves all together and attack and oppress as we did for three and a half years: we did it for three and a half years with players who seemed incapable of doing it, but they did it.”

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