Mancini: “I’m optimistic, we deserved to win.” Zaza: “I’m happy with the win, I had bad memories”

Mancini: “I’m optimistic, we deserved to win.” Zaza: “I

The first draw in the role left a slightly bitter taste in the mouth for Roberto Mancini. It was normal after the side went within two minutes of winning after Italy created various chances in the first half and it seemed that things were going the right way following Zaza’s goal. But, Criscito’s red card allowed the Netherlands to play with a man advantage at the end and find an equaliser. “It was very careless,” said Mancini on the play that led to Criscito’s dismissal. “We were a bit tired but after the goal we did well. It’s hard to play with ten, but we did very well in the first half and we had a lot of chances, we could have gone 2-0 up.” Some doubts remain over the red card. “I asked the assistant referee if he was sure that it was worthy of a red card, it was a friendly match. I don’t know. We deserved to win but I feel sorry for the lads and the crowd but the attitude shown was positive.” 

Italy featured a number of young players who looked to get the win and show what they can do. “These matches help above all to gain experience. After ten days, it’s not easy to transmit good ideas of how to play but we did some good things, against France also. For me, it was important that the lads showed effort after a tiring year. They did so and there’s a sense of optimism. The fans showed enthusiasm for a young team and this helped. In September, the players will be in shape and the matches will be different as they are competitive. We’ll also get to know in those 12 days who can’t make it through injury or other reasons.” 

Among the positive notes was Simone Zaza’s performance who came off the bench to score. It was his second Azzurri goal and one that will help the forward to move on from the penalty miss against Germany at Euro 2016. “I was happy for the goal,” he said. “I had a bad memory of my time with the National Team which had always been my biggest aspiration. I felt a bit emotional because I relived the negative memories but I’m happy with my display. We’re a young group but unfortunately we won’t have a lot of time to prepare. In the past, I went through experiences that helped me to develop and now I’m enjoying the good times with the people who were closest to me. We’re a young and enthusiastic side with great players and lots of them will reach the top levels.” 

Daniele Baselli also enjoyed making his Italy debut: “I’m really happy, it’s an incredible feeling. This is a new cycle, time will tell whether we’re at the level expected of us.”

Mattia Perin was applauded by the Juventus Stadium after his saves from Depay and Berghuis: “I looked to be ready, I was disappointed to concede at the end but we had lots of young players and we have big room for improvement.” With the other goalkeepers Donnarumma and Sirigu, there is a healthy rivalry. “Competition will make us improve and we’re happy to compete amongst ourselves. Let’s not forget that there’s still Gigi Buffon who could certainly return to Italy should he keep playing.” 

Domenico Criscito was satisfied but also disappointed after being sent off. “We played a good game, especially in the fist half,” he said. “This is the right road to follow, we’ll enjoy lots of success. I said to the referee that it was a friendly and he could have avoided showing a red card. It’s a shame because I was playing well. I hope that I can consistently be a part of this team, it’s on me to be ready. I have a great relationship with the boss and I thank him for the chance he has given me.” 

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