Mancini praises Italy's coolness and control 'amid negative circumstances'

By Sports Desk March 29, 2022

Italy head coach Roberto Mancini hailed the response of his young side in their narrow 3-2 victory over Turkey.

The Azzurri got back to winning ways five days after their World Cup qualifying hopes were shattered following a shock defeat by North Macedonia in Palermo.

Mancini made 10 changes for the friendly against their fellow beaten playoff semi-finalists, with Gianluigi Donnarumma the sole survivor between the sticks.

Although the reigning European champions fell behind to an early Cengiz Under strike, they turned things around with Giacomo Raspadori scoring twice in just his third senior international start, while Bryan Cristante was also on target for the visitors.

Fellow youngsters Sandro Tonali, Nicolo Zaniolo and Gianluca Scamacca were also handed opportunities from the start, and Mancini was pleased with the way his much-changed side acquitted themselves.

"It was pointless in terms of competition. But if you need to do things, you need to do them properly, even amid negative circumstances," the coach told RAI Sport.

"The younger lads did well and that is pleasing. It was nice to see the reaction when we want 1-0 down too, as it was fiery here. 

"The fans made it a great atmosphere, so we did well to keep cool and take control after the opening 15 minutes.

"It was the first time many of them had played together, so it was not easy. These are young players, we need time, and it was not an easy situation. I am glad they did well.

"Even if unfortunately, we are not where we wanted to be, the reaction from the squad was strong. We will have regrets all the way until December."

Despite their qualifying disappointment, Cristante insisted it was imperative that he and his team-mates demonstrated strength in the face of adversity.

"It was important that we show a strong reaction after that bad start," he added. 

"We had to put in a good performance and turn the page straight away.

"We are disappointed, but we know in football there isn’t much time to feel sorry for yourself.

"We've got to reboot, and we know that we are a strong team."

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