Mancini unhappy despite Italy win as Rossi praises 'best in the world' Donnarumma

By Sports Desk September 26, 2022

Roberto Mancini was not entirely satisfied by Italy's Nations League win over Hungary, while Marco Rossi hailed Gianluigi Donnarumma as the "best goalkeeper in the world".

Goals from Giacomo Raspadori and Federico Dimarco saw the Azzurri leapfrog their hosts to top Group A3 and qualify for next year's finals, alongside Croatia and the Netherlands.

Yet the visitors were forced to weather a late onslaught from Hungary, kept in the game through Paris Saint-Germain keeper Donnarumma, who lived up to his reputation with a string of impressive saves.

That gradually eroded control over the match frustrated Mancini, who felt his side rested on their laurels too much across the closing stages of Monday's encounter.

"It was a difficult game," he told RAI Sport. "It was all perfect until the final 20 minutes.

"We really need to improve in our ability to control the game for 90 minutes, as we worked so hard to be 2-0 up, so suffering like that in the final 20 minutes just makes no sense.

"We should have kept pushing for a third goal. I lost my voice because I was shouting so much in the final 20 minutes."

Rossi, who played alongside Mancini in a brief stint with Sampdoria almost three decades ago and embraced warmly at full-time, was more philosophical on his side's defeat.

However, the Italian was fast to praise countryman Donnarumma, who after something of a mixed first year at PSG following his Euro 2020 heroics, looks back to his best this season.

"It would have been nice to perform a miracle tonight, but when you play against teams like Italy, you have to make zero mistakes and hope the other side get it wrong," Rossi said in his post-match press conference.

"Even when we did have the chances, we were kept out by the best goalkeeper in the world. It's no coincidence that PSG signed Donnarumma."

Rossi also hailed Hungary's supporters, praising their "great respect and civility" for their opponents in Budapest.

"I've been in football for many years," he added. "I've seen packed stadiums and fans on their feet, but never anything like the passion you can feel when Hungary play on home turf."

Related items

  • Mikel Arteta loves Arsenal’s attacking mentality during ruthless goalscoring run Mikel Arteta loves Arsenal’s attacking mentality during ruthless goalscoring run

    Mikel Arteta insists there is no secret to Arsenal’s recent success as he praised his side following victory over Newcastle.

    The Gunners eased to a 4-1 win at the Emirates Stadium on Saturday night to move two points off the top of the Premier League summit.

    A Sven Botman own goal set them on their way before goals from Kai Havertz, Bukayo Saka and Jakub Kiwior rounded off another fine display from Arteta’s men, although the returning Joe Willock’s late header ruined another clean sheet.

    Arsenal may have laboured to a narrow 1-0 defeat in the first leg of their Champions League last 16 tie in Porto on Wednesday – but their domestic form has been imperious.

    Asked what has clicked in a run that included 6-0 and 5-0 away wins at West Ham and Burnley, respectively, before beating Newcastle, Arteta said: “We’re in a good moment. Players are performing individually, it is not any secret.

    “Things are flowing. We’re scoring goals in different ways and especially we want more. When we score one, we want two, or three, or four. I love that mentality from the team.

    “We train every day the best possible way and look after ourselves. First of all though, belief. Belief in yourself that you can improve and always get better. Also getting players back.

    “The more players we have back, the more competition there will be in the team, the more alternatives to impact the game. Especially we have to make sure we believe we can do it.”

    Jorginho returned to the Arsenal side for the game against the Magpies and put in a man-of-the-match display.

    The Italy midfielder has impressed in most outings this season, but was only on the bench in Portugal.

    “He’s a top player,” added Arteta. “Especially when opponents have certain behaviours and set-ups, the way I imagine the game, he was going to have a big impact.

    “After, you have to do it at this level. When he’s not playing consistently, credit to him because he was magnificent again.”

    Newcastle were not at the races and have now shipped 23 goals in their past eight league games.

    “It is a concern,” manager Eddie Howe conceded when asked about the recent defensive record.

    “Of course, we are working on things behind the scenes, but that probably was not evident in today’s performance.

    “It is a combination of things, we didn’t do well from corners, knew how good they are in those situations and the third goal as well.

    “We were the dominant team and we’d have been right back in the game if we’d got that goal, so difficult moments defensively.

    “I don’t think we truly got going in the first half, they put us under pressure, I thought that would be just the start of the game, but at no stage did we really come out of that moment.

    “We did not compete well enough which is not like us. It is something to learn from.”

  • Ashley Westwood rejuvenated by good Charlotte move Ashley Westwood rejuvenated by good Charlotte move

    Ashley Westwood was on the brink of retirement at Burnley but the rejuvenated midfielder now wants to play into his forties as he lives the American dream with Charlotte FC.

    In April 2022, the distraught 33-year-old suffered a devastating ankle injury as he challenged for the ball with West Ham’s Nikola Vlasic.

    For a while Westwood’s 286th Premier League appearance looked set to be the last match he would ever play.

    The gruelling journey back to fitness took its toll on the usually upbeat midfielder, who did not play again for Burnley before leaving last January.

    Westwood took a calculated gamble by moving to Charlotte, playing in what was their second Major League Soccer season, and could not be happier with the outcome.

    “It’s incredible,” the smiling Charlotte skipper said. “Even last year I was close to retiring, very close.

    “I broke my ankle, made a mess and then it got to halfway through the rehab and I was like ‘I’ve had enough, I’m done’.

    “Even before that I was getting fed up with it. With what Burnley did, it was just constantly trying to stay above the relegation.

    “I had like 10-12 years of it, and it gets a lot. Mentally it gets tough, so then I fell out of love with it.

    “But then (came) the opportunity to come here and it’s just the best thing I’ve ever done.”

    Westwood says Burnley “still hold a special place in my heart” and returned to visit Vincent Kompany and his former team-mates over Christmas.

    The Crewe youth product is eternally grateful to the Clarets for allowing him to join Charlotte – somewhere he sees as his long-term home having been unable to place it on a map until not so long ago.

    “It’s given me a massive boost, a new lease of life,” the former Aston Villa midfielder said of life in the Queen City, where Dean Smith was recently appointed head coach.

    “I could have some regrets because I asked to leave Burnley and Vinny (Kompany) was brilliant, he let me go.

    “I was honest with him. I went in and said ‘listen, this has come about’ but they needed to get me on a free because of the wage structure.

    “So, I spoke to Vinny and he said ‘we don’t want to lose you but I respect the decision’ and he sent me on my way.

    “And it has given me a new lease of life. It’s been the best thing for me and my family – the kids are thriving, the wife’s enjoying it.

    “Hopefully I’ll be going until I’m 40. I want to stay here a long time.”

    Westwood moved to MLS at an exciting time for the sport in North America, with the 2026 World Cup following on the back of Lionel Messi’s blockbuster move to Inter Miami.

    Little wonder some former team-mates, from England internationals to Premier League regulars, have expressed interest in following him across the pond.

    “You’ve got Messi, (Luis) Suarez and even now I get texts from mates saying ‘what’s it like? I’d love to do it’, so it’s getting more appealing,” Westwood added.

    “They’ve got the World Cup here and if they get that right it could take off. There’s a lot around the budgets and the way the wage cap is.

    “Our owner is willing to do it (and pay more), he wants to go for it, but it’s just about getting all the other owners on board. If they get right, it can take off.”

  • Mauricio Pochettino says he has no issue with Jurgen Klopp ahead of final clash Mauricio Pochettino says he has no issue with Jurgen Klopp ahead of final clash

    Mauricio Pochettino insisted there is nothing personal between him and Jurgen Klopp ahead of Chelsea’s Carabao Cup final meeting with Liverpool on Sunday.

    The pair faced off in the 2019 Champions League final when the Argentinian was in charge of Tottenham, losing 2-0 in Madrid to hand his opposite number a first trophy at Anfield.

    The game is remembered for controversy after Spurs’ Moussa Sissoko was penalised for a contentious handball inside the opening minute, resulting in Mohamed Salah giving Liverpool the lead from the spot.

    More recently the Reds were 4-1 winners against Chelsea in the Premier League at the end of January, when Pochettino’s side were outclassed by their hosts and fell well short of expectations set by the more than £1billion it cost to assemble their squad.

    Since then there has been a notable upturn in performances, with three impressive away results including a 1-1 draw against Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium a week ago.

    As he seeks his first silverware in England, the 51-year-old said neither he nor his players are motivated by revenge against their Wembley opponents.

    “It’s nothing against Jurgen Klopp or Liverpool,” he said. “We love to compete with the best teams and Liverpool as a club, and Klopp with his coaching staff and the players, I think they are amazing. You love to compete with this type of organisation.

    “It’s not personal against Klopp or against Liverpool to have revenge. It’s a challenge for us to say ‘we have the possibility to write history, winning a trophy’. That is our biggest motivation. That is my motivation.”

    Chelsea followed the loss on Merseyside with a dismal 4-2 defeat at home to Wolves that saw sections of the home support boo the team off.

    Since then, the atmosphere around the club has improved significantly, with the draw at City preceded by consecutive 3-1 wins at Aston Villa and Crystal Palace that have injected renewed hope into the team’s season.

    “We didn’t compete (at Anfield),” said Pochettino. “If you see the first two minutes, we didn’t match them in the capacity to compete. We created some chances and there (should have been) a penalty after five minutes with (Conor) Gallagher that may change the situation.

    “But the most important thing now in this process is to challenge ourselves to be better. If you want to challenge another person, but you are not ready… You need to put your body and your mind in the best condition. If we are in the best condition, we are going to challenge.”

    Pochettino rejected the suggestion that victory on Sunday would prompt critics to move on from the huge transfer outlay expended by co-owner Todd Boehly since he took control in May 2022.

    “It’s not easy in football,” he said. “It’s not an ordinary business. People know that it’s not only about spending money. It helps, but it’s not only.

    “You need time if you want to build something. That is the process that we are involved in now.

    “You cannot buy victories. You cannot buy trophies. Money helps, but it doesn’t give trophies.”

© 2023 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.