‘I thought it would be worse’ – Italy’s boss Mancini was optimistic after a draw in England

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Italy’s head coach Robert Mancini admitted he is surprised by his inexperienced team’s start in the Nations League after their 0-0 draw against England on Saturday.

Without midfielder Marco Verratti and people like Federico Chiesa and Andrea Belotti, Azzurri delivered an encouraging performance in Saturday’s European Championship 2020 final rematch and earned a point at Molineux Stadium.

With the majority of the squad earning less than ten internationals before this international window, Italy leads Group 3 after three matches on five points, ahead of Hungary, Germany and England, who are at the bottom of the group on two points.

While conceding Italy are in the early stages of the transition after their inability to qualify for the World Cup, Mancini revealed that he expected this initial period to be more volatile.

“I have to be honest, I did not expect this. I thought it would be worse,” he admitted. “We still have a lot to work on, there is a long way ahead full of dangers.

“We definitely need to score more goals and if Davide Frattesi had scored in the first five minutes, it would have been a different match. He will get it next time.

“I did not expect that we would do so well during these three weeks together. It is important that we do not change our style of football, even when the staff did. “

With relative experience compared to the new faces in the squad, Lorenzo Pellegrini has had to take more responsibility for the Azzurri after their loss to Argentina in the UEFA / CONMEBOL Finalissima, where they scored against Germany and Hungary.

More of a threat in the penalty area from midfield than a technical and creative focal point, the 25-year-old got his third start in a row on Saturday – something he had not done since 2018.

The Roma captain was praised for his versatility by his coach despite obvious opportunities for improvement.

“Pellegrini has his own style of football,” Mancini said. “He’s not a 10’s like Giuseppe Giannini, nor a 10’s like Francesco Totti.

“I think he can get much better with time because he is so good at both attacking and defending.

“Sometimes he loses balls he shouldn’t, but if he improves it and a few other things, he can simply become extraordinary.”

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