Mancini: “Overall, the guys did well. We’ll go again from the second half”

Mancini: “Overall, the guys did well. We’ll go again from the secon

At the stadium where he made his Serie A debut 37 years earlier, Roberto Mancini was greeted by applause before and after the match. During his competitive debut following previous friendlies against Saudi Arabia, France and the Netherlands, he wanted to thank the crowd for their support. “It was the first important match of this cycle, I expected it to be a tough game and you can make some mistakes but overall the guys did well,” he said after the whistle. “In the first half, we made too many technical mistakes and we can’t do so but the guys were very good in the second half. We played very well against a team that had played together for longer.” 

Balotelli was kept quiet by the Polish defence and he’s still not in peak condition but the Coach believes in him: “Mario needs to play, he’s an experienced forward, of international standard and he just needs to get up to his ideal conditional.” Chiesa brought energy to the attack after coming on and it was no coincidence that the Fiorentina player won the penalty. “Federico did well after he came on, he’s the only one at the moment who can sprint over longer distances and I believe he can do even better. There are lots of guys we need to count on for the future and they showed their value in the second half.” On Monday against Portugal, Mancini hopes to see Italy build on the second half display: “We need to look to get a result, we’ll certainly make changes because 72 hours to recover isn’t much.” 

After losing the ball in the first half which led to the Zielinski goal, Jorginho stepped up in the second half to score his first Italy goal. “I stood up at the spot without fear,” he said. “I knew that the team needed to draw, I was convinced that I’d score and I did.” After being marked by former Napoli teammate Zielinski for the whole match, it was normal that he’d make a mistake. “When you have a man on you who only watches you rather than the match, you can only try to create space for your teammates. It wasn’t my best match, I made a few mistakes but we need to stay calm and keep playing.” 

While Jorginho scored his first Azzurri goal, Cristiano Biraghi made his debut as the sixth player to do so under Mancini. “I knew this morning that I’d make my debut, I’m happy but I still have to fully register what happened. We struggled a bit with Poland’s attitude which we expected, we were too frantic and lacked calm. In the second half, we were more focused and looked to score in every way possible, overall the effort was positive.” 

Gianluigi Donnarumma was certainly one of the best performers on the pitch after making a spectacular stop from Zielinski although he did concede his third goal to the Polish midfielder in a short period of time. “I told him that after the game,” joked the Milan goalkeeper. “We played an excellent game but we paid for some lack of focus in the first half but then we did very well. Now, there’s another big match against Portugal and we need to get a result.” 

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