Cristiano Ronaldo was the biggest omission as UEFA named the Euro 2020 Team of the Tournament.

Five players from competition winners Italy made the best XI announced on Tuesday, though there was no place for Golden Boot winner Ronaldo.

The Portugal forward scored five times, as did the Czech Republic's Patrik Schick, but Belgium striker Romelu Lukaku got the nod in a front three with Federico Chiesa and Raheem Sterling.

Kyle Walker and Harry Maguire were the other England representatives in the team.

But there was no place for fellow defender Luke Shaw, who scored in the final to cap a fine tournament, or his Manchester United team-mate Paul Pogba, one of the tournament's stars before France's elimination in the last 16.

Player of the tournament Gianluigi Donnarumma was joined by Italy quartet Leonardo Bonucci, Leonardo Spinazzola, Jorginho and Chiesa.

However, midfield star Marco Verratti missed out despite some influential performances in the knockout stages.

Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg and Pedri were the sole representatives for Denmark and Spain respectively, both teams having gone out in the semi-finals.

Lukaku also edged out Harry Kane, Karim Benzema and Emil Forsberg, who all ended up with the same goal tally (four) as the Inter forward.

 

The best players to miss out

Switzerland goalkeeper Yann Sommer enjoyed an incredible tournament, saving a Kylian Mbappe penalty in his side's shoot-out win against France in the last 16.

He made a tournament-high 21 saves in total, 10 of those coming in the eventual defeat to Spain on penalties in the quarter-finals.

Denzel Dumfries saw his reputation enhanced during Euro 2020, even if the Netherlands were sent packing by the Czech Republic at the last-16 stage.

He became just the second ever Netherlands player, after Ruud van Nistelrooy, to score in his first two European Championship appearances, while also helping his side to a couple of clean sheets in his four outings.

Bonucci and Maguire earning selection meant their centre-back colleagues Giorgio Chiellini and John Stones narrowly missed out despite playing crucial roles.

England conceded just two goals all tournament, with only one of those coming in open play. A large part of that was down to ever-present defender Stones, who won 20 aerial challenges – the joint-second most of any defender in the competition, one behind Maguire.

Shaw was left out for England's opening game against Croatia, but the full-back soon made himself a consistent presence. He was even compared to the great Roberto Carlos after starring with two assists against Ukraine in the quarter-finals.

The Manchester United defender provided three assists in total and netted the fastest-ever goal in a European Championship final with his volley against Italy. Those four goal involvements were bettered only by Schick (five) and Ronaldo (six).

Paris Saint-Germain midfielder Verratti was a major fitness doubt for the tournament and sat out Italy's first two matches, but made an emormous impact in the following five games.

Since his first game against Wales on June 20, all-rounder Verratti ranked first among all midfielders at Euro 2020 for chances created (14), passes completed (388), progressive carries (59), tackles (18) and recoveries of possession (37).

 

Pogba likely paid the price for his team's exit rather than his own displays. 

He scored a stunning goal against Switzerland after getting two assists in the 2-2 group-stage draw with Portugal, and his supreme link-up play with Mbappe, Antoine Griezmann and Benzema was among the highlights of the early weeks of the tournament.

Schick not only scored the joint-most goals, but he was responsible for surely the most memorable one of the lot - a 49.7-yard lob against Scotland, the furthest ever distance a goal has been scored at a European Championships.

The Bayer Leverkusen forward found the net in all but one of his side's games, with three of his goals coming from open play, compared to just two for Ronaldo.

Even though it was far from a vintage tournament for Ronaldo and dethroned champions Portugal, the Juventus superstar still claimed the Golden Boot accolade thanks to having one assist more than fellow five-goal forward Schick.

Ronaldo's 72 minutes per goal was the best return of any player to have played at least three times in the tournament. 

His haul also moved him level with Iran great Ali Daei as the all-time leading goalscorer in men's international football with 109, a record that he will get a chance to break later this year.

 

UEFA's Euro 2020 Team of the Tournament: Gianluigi Donnarumma (Italy); Kyle Walker (England), Leonardo Bonucci (Italy), Harry Maguire (England), Leonardo Spinazzola (Italy); Jorginho (Italy), Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg (Denmark), Pedri (Spain); Federico Chiesa (Italy), Romelu Lukaku (Belgium), Raheem Sterling (England).

Roberto Mancini has overseen arguably one of the all-time great transformations in international football, not only turning Italy into a team that has a clear and fresh identity, but also a side that is successful.

When they lost 1-0 to Portugal on September 10, 2018 in the Nations League, who'd have thought that by the next time they suffered defeat they'd have won the European Championship? The fact that's the case despite Euro 2020 being delayed for 12 months is all the more impressive.

While the Azzurri required a penalty shoot-out against England in Sunday's final at Wembley, it's fair to say Italy were worthy victors in the end, with their hosts' caution only taking them so far.

In fact, England's pragmatism was arguably akin to the philosophy historically associated with Italy, but under Mancini they've truly embraced a tactical fluidity that has seemingly altered the perception many have of them.

Press smart, work smart

Intense off-the-ball work and a high press have almost become mainstream in modern football. While they aren't necessarily prevalent aspects of every team, not even every great team, many of the world's finest coaches try to implement them to a certain degree.

At Euro 2020, it's been a core strength of Italy – but it's not just a case of chasing down opponents like headless chickens. They've proven themselves to be smart.

 

The average amount of passes Italy allow their opponents to have in their own defensive third before initiating a defensive action is 13 (PPDA). Seven teams at the tournament pressed with greater intensity, but none were as effective as Italy.

Their 56 high turnovers were matched by Denmark but Italy boasted a tournament-high 13 that led to a shot, while three resulted in a goal – that too was bettered by no other team.

It suggests that, while other sides such as Spain (8.1 PPDA) pressed higher, Italy were better at picking their moments and knowing when to up the intensity.

Italy still managed to remain well balanced, too. Their average starting position of 42.9 metres from their own goal was deeper than six other teams, an important factor considering Giorgio Chiellini and Leonardo Bonucci aren't the quickest.

Yet they still pressed to greater effect that any of the others.

Establishing control

If there was one area of the pitch that you might point out as most crucial in Italy's Euro 2020 success (if we ignore Gianluigi Donnarumma's shoot-out saves), it would be their midfield.

Nicolo Barella, Marco Verratti and Jorginho were largely excellent as a trio, though the latter pair have attracted most of the acclaim.

In Verratti, Mancini seems to have a player who truly embodies their style of play – an excellent creator, he also does more than his fair share off the ball as one of the most complete central midfielders in the game today. He puts the fun in functional.

Verratti played the most key passes (14) of anyone at the tournament and ranked fourth for successful passes (87.1) and fifth for tackle attempts (4.0) per 90 minutes (at least 90 mins played).

 

The Paris Saint-Germain star also provided drive from the centre, with his 23 ball carries per 90 minutes bettered by just five midfielders, though only Pedri moved the ball between five and 10 metres upfield more often than Verratti (47), highlighting his progressive mentality.

Yet he didn't do it all on his own – after all, Verratti missed the first two games through injury. No, Jorginho had a similarly important function as the chief deep-lying playmaker, playing 484 successful passes, trailing only Aymeric Laporte.

On top of that, Jorginho showed his innate ability to sniff out danger and get Italy back on the move, with his 48 recoveries the second-highest among outfield players.

Given the presence of these two, it's no wonder Italy strung together the third-most sequences of 10 of more passes (123), yet at no point did you feel they got in each other's way, which again is testament to Mancini's setup.

 

Turning a weakness into a strength

The fact Italy were successful despite not having a particularly convincing striker highlighted the effectiveness of other areas of the team.

Ciro Immobile was Mancini's pick to lead the line. He wasn't necessarily bad, as his goal involvement output of four (two goals, two assists) was only trumped by Patrik Schick and Cristiano Ronaldo.

However, the Lazio man was by no means deadly in front of goal, hitting the target with just three of 18 shots. Among players with at least 10 attempts, just four were accurate with a smaller percentage than Immobile (16.7 per cent).

 

But so fluid were Italy that it didn't really matter. Immobile was one of five Italy players to net two goals, something no team has achieved at the Euros since France did in 2000.

At Italy's Coverciano coach training facility, there is said to have been a growing focus on the development of what are essentially formation-less tactics, and the fact Italy carried a threat from so many different positions suggests such a future actually isn't that far away.

Further to this, Italy showed real flexibility in attack. Sure, they scored 10 times inside the box, a figure third only to Spain and England, but the difference is the Azzurri also netted three from outside the area – no team managed more.

While you might expect that to reflect significantly in their expected goals (xG), Italy still pretty much scored exactly the number of goals one would ordinarily expect from the quality of their chances (13 goals, 13.2 xG), albeit one of those was an own goal.

 

Whether Italy have enough talent coming through to sustain this level and establish the first international 'dynasty' since the Spain side that won Euro 2008, the 2010 World Cup and Euro 2012 is another debate.

But there's little doubt Mancini has the know-how to make them the team to beat if the production line doesn't dry up.

Jorginho is attracting interest from a number of clubs but will remain a Chelsea player next season unless "a serious offer" is tabled, according to his agent.

The 29-year-old has spent the past three seasons at Stamford Bridge and has another two years to run on his existing contract with the European champions.

Former Napoli midfielder Jorginho finished the 2020-21 campaign as Chelsea's leading Premier League scorer with seven goals, albeit each of those came from the penalty spot.

He carried that form into Euro 2020, playing every game for Italy in their successful campaign that ended with a penalty shoot-out win over England in Sunday's final at Wembley.

Jorginho has regularly been linked with a return to Italy, while Barcelona were also recently credited with an interest, but representative Joao Santos expects him to stay.

"He has a two-year contract," Santos told Calciomercato. "It's all in the hands of Chelsea.

"There's the Club World Cup next season and the European Super Cup. For a footballer, these are important targets.

"But the transfer market is always the transfer market and if a major club comes forward with a serious offer to Chelsea, then we will evaluate.

"At the moment, Jorginho will play at Chelsea next season."

Asked about the rumoured interest from Juventus, who recently reappointed Massimiliano Allegri, Santos said: "I can confirm it, these interests have arrived. 

"Of course, at 29, he can do very well in all the top European clubs, and many are interested in him.

"However, I want to close by saying that I'm happy all Italians can breathe the air of champions today."

Jorginho missed from the spot in Italy's shoot-out win against England, but he otherwise enjoyed an impeccable tournament for the Azzurri.

The Brazilian-born player led the way in terms of interceptions at Euro 2020 with 25, substantially more than Chelsea team-mate N'Golo Kante (14), who was next best.

Meanwhile, Jorginho's 484 successful passes were bettered only by Spain's Aymeric Laporte (644), leading to seven chances being created for his team-mates. Only Azzurri team-mate Lorenzo Insigne (40) was involved in more shot-ending sequences than his 38.

"Jorginho is an example of true integration into the Italy side," Santos added. "Blood is not involved, he sees Italy as his homeland.

"In Italy he sees immeasurable feelings. He feels Italian even though he was born in Brazil; everyone should learn from such a strong feeling."

Having been scrapped last year due to the disruption caused by the pandemic, the Ballon d'Or returns in 2021.

With Euro 2020 and the Copa America rescheduled for this year, the stars of Europe and South America had the chance to use those tournaments as a springboard towards claiming the game's top individual prize.

Italy and Argentina lifted the respective trophies at the weekend, with the Azzurri beating England in a penalty shoot-out and La Albiceleste seeing off bitter rivals Brazil at the Maracana to win the Copa for the first time since 1993.

Stats Perform has looked at 13 of the leading candidates to feature at either tournament to determine how their chances look heading into the new season.

Jorginho

Before Euro 2020, N'Golo Kante was the Chelsea midfielder seen to be within the best shot of scooping individual honours at the end of 2021, but a month on it's Jorginho who is the European champion at club and international level.

While he has perhaps been underappreciated or misunderstood at times with Chelsea, perhaps supporters will see him in a new light after playing a vital role in Italy's success as their deep-lying playmaker.

Robert Lewandowski

It's widely accepted that, had the award been handed out last year, it would have gone to Robert Lewandowksi, the man whose 55 goals in 47 games delivered Bayern the treble.

How do you follow that? Well, he scored 41 times in the Bundesliga alone in 2020-21, breaking Gerd Muller's 49-year-old single-season record. Lewandowski's Ballon d'Or hopes arguably aren't any worse now than before the Euros as no one will have expected Paulo Sousa's men to make much of an impact. He got three goals in as many games and was only out-scored by six players, which is a solid achievement.

 

Marco Verratti

Had he not been injured for the first two games of Euro 2020, there's every possibility it would have been Verratti being crowned as player of the tournament, with the Paris Saint-Germain star arguably the player who embodies the qualities of Roberto Mancini's transformed Italy side more than any other.

Not only did he create more chances than anyone else at Euro 2020 (14), but averaged more touches (114.5) than anyone, played the fourth-most passes (87.1) and ranked third for tackles (four) per 90 minutes among all players to have featured for at least 125 minutes. His all-action excellence set the tone for the Azzurri's vibrant and, ultimately, successful football.

 

N'Golo Kante

Kante inspired Chelsea to Champions League glory, named man of the match in both legs of the semi-final versus Real Madrid and the final against Manchester City.

But France's last-16 elimination by Switzerland will have done little to boost his chances, with Paul Pogba rather than Kante the standout figure for Les Bleus. While a nomination is almost a certainty, taking the gong home now looks beyond the all-action midfielder.

Kevin De Bruyne

A second successive PFA Players' Player of the Year award for Kevin De Bruyne came after another standout season for Manchester City in which he won the Premier League and EFL Cup.

His exceptional quality was further underlined by the fact only Verratti created more chances than him over the course of the tournament, an impressive feat given he started the tournament late due to injury and then had to play through another fitness issue in Belgium's final match, but that's unlikely to be enough to earn him the award.

Gianluigi Donnarumma

Generally, the player considered to be the best at a major international competition has a pretty good chance of winning further accolades, so in that case Donnarumma may have a reasonable opportunity after UEFA crowned him Euro 2020's Player of the Tournament.

Statistically there were numerous goalkeepers who were more important than him to their respective teams given he technically didn't prevent any goals according to Opta's xGOT metric – Tomas Vaclik's prevented a tournament-high 2.5. Nevertheless, Donnarumma wasn't guilty of any drops or errors that led to shots, and made crucial saves across two penalty shoot-outs, including a couple in the final.

 

Harry Kane

Another star performer in 2020-21 to end the season empty-handed, Harry Kane finished top for goals (23) and assists (14) in the Premier League despite Tottenham finishing seventh.

A slow start to Euro 2020 followed, although Kane scored four times in the knockout phase as he played a key role in England's journey to the final. But when it mattered most he failed to have a single touch in the Italy penalty area. A talismanic performance in the showpiece may have put him firmly in the running, but it's difficult to see him being a major contender now.

Romelu Lukaku

The best player in Serie A as Inter ended an 11-year wait to win the title, Romelu Lukaku enjoyed the best season of his career, with 41 direct goal involvements in 44 appearances.

He certainly cannot be accused of failing to deliver for Belgium given he scored four times, but they came up short against Italy in the quarter-finals, with a partially injured De Bruyne unable to truly weave his magic. Lukaku's influence upon Inter shouldn't be overlooked, but the achievements of others on the international stage may overshadow his own.

Lionel Messi

The winner of the previous award in 2019 – the sixth of his astonishing career – Lionel Messi amazingly plundered 28 goals and had nine assists for Barcelona from January 1 onwards.

It wasn't enough to win Barca the LaLiga title, but it did put him right in the mix and he followed that up with a starring role in Argentina's Copa triumph, the first senior international trophy of his career. Given his lack of success with La Albiceleste was arguably the final barrier to clear in his career, a Ballon d'Or will surely follow later this year as he led Lionel Scaloni's men with four goals (joint-most) and five assists (the most).

 

Kylian Mbappe

Paris Saint-Germain lost their Ligue 1 title to Lille and could not reach back-to-back Champions League finals, which seems incredible given Kylian Mbappe managed 42 goals and 11 assists in just 47 appearances.

Departing Bayern Munich boss Hansi Flick this year said there was no question Mbappe would win the Ballon d'Or one day, but it probably won't be in 2021. He was one of the biggest disappointments at Euro 2020, failing to score once despite his chances having an accumulative xG value of 2.02 – that under-performance was second-worst to Gerard Moreno (3.32).

Neymar

Even Neymar would admit he only had an outside chance of winning this year's Ballon d'Or ahead of the Copa America, his 17 goals and eight assists in 2020-21 a modest return for the world's most expensive footballer.

While his performances with Brazil would see him included in most people's team of the tournament, he wasn't dependable in front of goal, his one non-penalty strike coming from 5.3 xG, an under-performance unmatched by anyone in the tournament. He'll have to wait a bit longer for the prize he supposedly craves above all others.

 

Cristiano Ronaldo

Juventus may have lost their grip on Serie A, but Cristiano Ronaldo still finished as top goalscorer (with 29), and they won the Supercoppa Italiana and Coppa Italia.

He definitely didn't do his chances any harm as he won the Golden Boot for most goals (five) – beating Patrik Schick by virtue of having more assists – after becoming the Euros' all-time leading scorer (11) and levelling Ali Daei's world-record haul of 109 international goals, but Portugal's failure to get beyond the last 16 won't help.

 

Luis Suarez

Discarded by Barcelona for being past his usefulness, Luis Suarez responded with 21 goals in 32 games to propel Atletico Madrid to a first league title since 2013-14.

But he could only muster one goal at the Copa America as he and Uruguay had a minimal impact, meaning it'll take something special for Suarez to be a major candidate at the end of the year.

Gareth Southgate insists Declan Rice and Kalvin Phillips will not be fazed about going up against Italy's much-lauded midfield, pointing out they coped well despite their relative inexperience against two modern greats in Luka Modric and Toni Kroos.

Italy have enjoyed almost universal acclaim for their performances at Euro 2020, with their run to Sunday's final seeing them extend their unbeaten run to 33 matches, a national record.

A lot of the praise has been centred around their midfield trio of Nicolo Barella, Jorginho and Marco Verratti, the latter two in particular.

Jorginho carries out an important function as their deep-lying playmaker, and his influence is highlighted by the fact he has completed more passes (390) and had more touches of the ball (503) than any of his team-mates, while his 38 instances of regaining possession and instigating passing sequences is 10 more than anyone else in the tournament.

As for Verratti, the Paris Saint-Germain star's 12 key passes is bettered by only Kevin De Bruyne and he leads the way in terms of involvements in open-play sequences that end in a shot, averaging 9.2 every 90 minutes (players with at least 165 mins played), which paints a picture of not only great creativity but also significant impact generally in Italy's build-up play.

 

Yet Italy struggled in that area against Spain and were subsequently overrun at times, their 0.8 xG to La Roja's 1.5 proof they were somewhat fortunate to get past Luis Enrique's side via a penalty shoot-out.

As such, Spain essentially highlighted that to dull Italy's strengths they need to win the midfield battle, and Southgate feels his players in that area are up to the challenge.

"I think when you're coaching a team, you watch everything and you have to decide the most important information for players, not flood them with too much, adapt the game to our strengths and highlight potential weaknesses," Southgate told reporters ahead of England's first major final in 55 years.

 

"Of course there are fantastic players all through the Italy team, they've a good tactical plan, an experienced coach and an amazing record over last 30 games or so, we are very aware of that.

"But players like our two midfielders [Rice and Phillips], they've played beyond their experience in this tournament and they've already played against Luka Modric and Toni Kroos, so they've had to adapt to these midfield players with great European experience and they've done that brilliantly.

"We're different, we have our own strengths, own style of play, which is geared towards the strengths of our players.

"That's the beauty of football, every team has different strengths, we've tried to play to ours and adapt to our strengths and we need to do the same [on Sunday]."

Another Italian double act that has been showered with praise is centre-back pairing Giorgio Chiellini and Leonardo Bonucci, whose combined 33 European Championship appearances is four more than England's entire back five that started the semi-final against Denmark.

While they may not possess the same ball-carrying ease as England's Harry Maguire and John Stones, Chiellini remains a formidable scrapper even at the age of 36, with his 71.4 duels success bettered by only six defenders (involved in 10 or more duels). And Bonucci continues to read the game well, his haul of 12 interceptions being the most of all defenders at Euro 2020.

Together, there is not much they do not possess, and Harry Kane is relishing the chance to go up against them.

"They're two amazing defenders with great experience over their careers of big matches," Kane said.

"I've been fortunate to play against them before, and as a striker I want to play against the best and they're definitely up there."

 

Kane himself has had an intriguing tournament given he was widely criticised for a slow start that saw him fail to score until the knockout phase, yet he now has four heading into the final.

It is a curious change from his performance at the 2018 World Cup, when he scored five in the group and only one in the knockouts, and he suggested that may be by design.

"Obviously don't get me wrong, I'd have loved to have scored three or four in the group and got off to fantastic start and gone from there, but it was more about the energy," he said.

"I felt in the World Cup, it was such an amazing start, scoring in the last minute against Tunisia, a lot of energy after that game was used in terms of the emotion, and then against Panama it was the same, because it was an amazing game and I got a hat-trick.

"Again, there's a lot of talk and mental energy [expended] – Colombia was the same. Not just physically but mentally I felt I just lost a little towards the latter stages, so going into this one with a bit more experience it's about not getting too carried away, whether I score or not.

"Thankfully it's worked out pretty well, but I guess that's part of the learning curve and gaining that experience, hopefully I've enough left to finish the job."

There was a sense of justice and vindication about Italy reaching the final of Euro 2020. They had been arguably the most entertaining side at the tournament and attracted near-universal levels of acclaim for their performances.

Added to that, there was an inspiring narrative that followed their every step, how they'd recovered from the failure to qualify for the 2018 World Cup, started from scratch with a new coach and philosophy, and seen it all come together at their first major tournament since.

But they were fortunate to get beyond Spain in the semi-finals, eventually coming through on penalties after a 1-1 draw.

La Roja did more than enough to win the match, their 1.5 xG almost double the 0.8 that Italy recorded, highlighting the greater quality chances created by Luis Enrique's men.

Although Spain's almost trademark – at this tournament, anyway – wastefulness eventually caught up with them, they at least did Gareth Southgate and England a service in pinpointing ways to hurt Italy.

 

Thinking outside of the box

The chief alteration Luis Enrique made to his side from Spain's previous matches at Euro 2020 was the decision to disregard Alvaro Morata and Gerard Moreno for that central striker berth.

Now, some might have suggested it was about time, given they were two of the three players with the worst xG underperformance ahead of the semi-finals – Morata had two goals from 3.95 xG, Moreno had no goals from 3.27 xG.

But the reason for their absence, and the presence of Dani Olmo as a false nine, quickly became apparent. The RB Leipzig attacking midfielder withdrew into deeper positions so as to not directly engage Giorgio Chiellini or Leonardo Bonucci in physical duels, but at the same time this helped create midfield overloads in Spain's favour.

This was obvious on numerous occasions, but one of the most notable saw Olmo actually drop in front of Jorginho, a clever flick in the centre-circle seeing him release Pedri into space as Spain cleverly picked through the Italian midfield.

Granted, it didn't necessarily lead to a goal that time, but it highlighted how uncomfortable Italy sometimes found themselves, and the fact Olmo's combined total of seven shots and key passes (five attempts, two chances created) was the most of any player against Italy at this tournament cannot be a coincidence.

Morata's equaliser off the bench came from a situation not too dissimilar to the previous one as well. This time it was he who picked the ball up in a deep position, before charging straight through the Italy midfield and playing a one-two with Olmo, leaving him with a simple finish. Although he might've missed a few of those already in this tournament, he finished with aplomb on that occasion.

 

The blueprint

You know how in some video games there are unusually fearsome enemies who only unleash their wrath upon the player if they don't keep their distance? Well, that seemed to be how Luis Enrique saw Chiellini and Bonucci, and maybe he has a point.

Ahead of the final, Chiellini's 71.4 per cent duels success has been bettered by only six defenders (involved in 10 or more duels), while Bonucci's 12 interceptions is the best of all of them. Together, there's not much they don't possess.

That's why playing around them, rather than through them, seems to be the way to go.

While England don't possess a midfield that's as capable – in almost any sense – as Spain's, mirroring their set-up could at least make things trickier for Italy's core: that centre-back pairing and the three-man midfield.

Jorginho, Nicolo Barella and Marco Verratti have been largely excellent at Euro 2020, but at Wembley on Tuesday they were overrun.

 

Jorginho found it particularly tough going, the Chelsea man completing just 26 passes and only five of those were in the Spain half. To put that into context, his previous match low for accurate passes at the Euros was 50, and he'd not gone below 29 in the opponent's half of the pitch.

 

Verratti and Barella also recorded tournament lows in the same metrics, but it was Jorginho's lack of influence that was most notable and, given he is generally the deepest-lying of the Italian midfield, it lends further credence to the idea that Olmo operating slightly deeper ensured the former Napoli star was uncomfortable and unable to truly dictate.

Instead, that was done by Sergio Busquets and – to a slightly lesser extent, but no less impressively – Pedri, while Koke spent much of his time marshalling Verratti in something of a man-marking role.

Of course, an important distinction to make is that Kalvin Phillips, Declan Rice and Mason Mount aren't Busquets, Pedri and Koke, but if England are to limit the influence of the Italian midfield, all three will need to play the games of their lives.

Kane holds the key

If Phillips and Rice can establish some form of control, the second key factor for England will be the role played by Harry Kane.

While Kane is undoubtedly capable of causing Bonucci and Chiellini problems, mimicking Olmo's performance could be a smart move, and there are few strikers in world football more capable than the Tottenham man at dropping deep and impacting the match in withdrawn spaces.

Jose Mourinho would know all about that, given it was under the Portuguese coach in 2020-21 that Kane enjoyed his best season creatively, reaching double figures for Premier League assists for the first time.

Mourinho told talkSPORT: "[Spain] was the only team that managed to unbalance that Italy midfield, because they had three and Spain had three plus Olmo, almost in a diamond. It was really difficult for Italy to cope with it. I can see Harry Kane doing that a lot. I can see Harry dropping and being away from Bonucci and Chiellini.

 

"For Bonucci and Chilellini, to have a target man in there is what they want. By not having a target man there, it's an extra midfielder, Harry Kane does that better than anyone."

Kane's 14 assists (12 in open play) in 2020-21 came from 3.6 xA (expected assists). Granted, that 10.4 over-performance – which was by far the best across the top five leagues – suggests a hint of fortune or that he was helped by good finishing from team-mates, but the idea he got lucky on every single occasion is far-fetched. He is clearly a fine link-up player.

Seven of those assists came from deeper positions, and the role Raheem Sterling plays for England isn't too dissimilar to that of Son Heung-min at Spurs, and we all know about Kane and Son's on-pitch relationship.

Italy's midfield is their strength, but all three of their regulars are players who want the ball – none of them are destroyers, and Spain have provided England with the blueprint to dull their impact.

Whether the Three Lions are up to the challenge will define if 55 years of hurt finally end on Sunday.

 

Italy and Spain are preparing to face one another for the 10th time at a major tournament, but Luis Enrique believes this is an Azzurri side like never before.

The two old rivals have been paired again in the semi-finals at Euro 2020, making this the most common fixture at the European Championship and World Cup combined.

This will be the seventh Euros clash, with the sides meeting at least once in four consecutive championships.

Spain eliminated Italy in 2008 and beat them in the final in 2012 but were toppled by the Azzurri four years later and now face a rejuvenated Roberto Mancini outfit.

"This Italy side isn't, perhaps, like the ones of years gone by – one that would sit back and wait to see what happened," Spain coach Luis Enrique said.

"This is an Italy side with great players who aim to have a lot of possession. This will be the first battle in the game: who dominates possession?

"I don't think both of us can dominate, so it'll be interesting to see who wins this tussle.

"Apart from having top players, Italy are a real team. They attack and defend as a unit, which is really similar to what we do.

"They also employ a high press, which it would be hard to imagine an Italian side from the past doing.

"Now they're strong in several ways of playing, meaning that the game will be really interesting. Both teams will have their moments."

Mancini, whose men are unbeaten in 32 and have won 13 in a row, was asked how Italy's Jorginho might match up against Sergio Busquets.

 

Among midfielders to have played 90 minutes or more at the tournament, Busquets ranks eighth for passes attempted per 90 (77.7) and Jorginho 10th (74.9).

"Certainly, they are among the best in their role," Mancini said.

"Busquets has been a fantastic player for many years. He has been around for longer, compared to Jorginho.

"Considering the way he is playing right now, however, Jorginho is certainly among the best, too."

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Italy – Emerson

Leonardo Spinazzola has been one of the tournament's most impressive players at wing-back for Italy, creating seven chances from open play – including one assist – and having a championship-high six shot-ending carries. Emerson is likely to be the man asked to step in, having replaced Spinazzola against Belgium after he was taken off on a stretcher, and has big boots to fill.

Spain – Pedri

Busquets might have been the man at the centre of pre-match discussion, but Pedri has arguably been Spain's most impressive midfield performer at these finals. Against Switzerland, he created five chances and made five tackles. The Barcelona teenager has been involved in five more shot-ending sequences (35) than any other player at Euro 2020.

KEY OPTA FACTS

– Italy have only beaten Spain twice in their past 14 meetings in all competitions (D7 L5), a 2-1 friendly win in 2011 and, most recently, a 2-0 victory at Euro 2016 in the last 16, with goals from Giorgio Chiellini and Graziano Pelle.
– The Azzurri have reached their 12th semi-final at a major tournament (EUROs/World Cup), with only Germany (20) appearing at the final four stage more often among all European sides. They have progressed from nine of the previous 11 semi-final ties, including each of the past four – most recently in this competition in 2012 when they eventually lost in the final to Spain (4-0).
– Italy have won all five of their matches at Euro 2020, the only side of the remaining final four with a 100 per cent record to date. Only at the World Cup (Italia 90) have they won more games at a single major tournament (six), while the only European side to win each of their first six games at a major tournament was the Netherlands at the 2010 World Cup, when they suffered defeat to Spain in the final in South Africa.
– Spain have reached the semi-finals of the European Championships for the third time in the past four editions of the competition (failing to do so in 2016). Indeed, they have gone on to win the competition on each of the past two occasions they have reached the final four – in 2008 and 2012.
– After losing each of their first four matches at Wembley Stadium between 1955 and 1968, Spain have only suffered one defeat in their past five matches there (W2 D2). However, they were knocked out of the Euros in 1996 at Wembley, losing to hosts England on penalties.

Cesar Azpilicueta says Spain must keep Lorenzo Insigne and Jorginho quiet if they are to overcome Italy in Tuesday's Euro 2020 semi-final.

Italy head into the showdown at Wembley as the most in-form side in Europe after going 32 matches without defeat and winning the last 13 of those.

The Azzurri saw off Turkey, Switzerland and Wales to top Group A, before beating Austria in extra time and Belgium inside 90 minutes, in the last 16 and quarter-finals respectively.

Forward Insigne started four of those five games, the exception being the final group match against Wales, while Jorginho has been an ever-present for Roberto Mancini's side.

Jorginho has completed the most passes (364) of any midfielder at Euro 2020 so far and is fourth in the list in terms of passes in the opposition half with 249, behind Koke (269), Toni Kroos (271) and Pedri (305).

He is a player Azpilicueta is familiar with, the pair having helped Chelsea to Champions League glory last season, and the defender knows the importance of shackling his club-mate.

"We have a chat set up with all the Chelsea players, but it will be good to see him on the pitch on Tuesday," Azpilicueta told Sky Sport Italia.

"This is football. Sometimes you play against your team-mates when representing your national side. We will both give it our all to helps our teams reach the final.

"He is of course a great player both for Chelsea and Italy. It is important we limit his involvement. He likes to have the ball and control the game. He is a very intelligent player.

"The better we are at keeping him quiet, the more chance we have of controlling the game."

 

While Jorginho has provided an assured presence in the engine room for a much-fancied Italy side, Insigne has been receiving plenty of plaudits for his performances up top.

The Napoli forward was on target for Italy in their opening match and curled in one of the goals of the tournament in the 2-1 win over Belgium in Friday's quarter-final.

He has been involved in 13 goals in his last 15 games for Italy in all competitions – six goals and seven assists – and netted 19 goals in 35 Serie A appearances last season.

"He is not someone I know personally, but on the pitch he is very dangerous," Azpilicueta added. "He is a great player, very technical and fast.

"He always looks to work a one-on-one and is constantly communicating with his team-mates. We will have to defend as a team and attack as a team. We are aware of the strength of Italy's attackers."

Spain's performances have not been as consistent as Italy's, having drawn their opening two group matches before advancing in second place with a 5-0 win over Slovakia.

La Roja then held off Croatia 5-3 after extra time, becoming the first side in European Championship history to score five or more goals in consecutive games, and penalties were required to overcome Switzerland last time out.

However, Italy have beaten Spain only twice in their last 15 meetings in all competitions and lost 4-0 when the sides met in the Euro 2012 final in Kiev.

Azpilicueta has started Spain's last three games and is focusing on the positives ahead of Tuesday's clash in London.

"We did not start well in terms of results, but on the field we have always managed to dominate and control matches," he said.

Should Jack Grealish be starting? Should Harry Kane be in the penalty area more often? Does Jadon Sancho still exist?

All these questions and more are whipping around the usual major tournament maelstrom for England, as Gareth Southgate's under-pressure side prepare for their final Group D game against the Czech Republic.

A dour 0-0 draw against Scotland means the feelgood factor that followed the Three Lions' opening 1-0 win over Croatia has largely dissipated, with ample debate surrounding multiple positions in the line-up – particularly the understudies to a talent-stacked forward line after three shots on target over the course of 180 minutes.

Further back, things feel more settled and Southgate would surely be loath to make unnecessary changes in midfield if self-isolation rules out Chelsea playmaker Mason Mount.

Declan Rice has become a mainstay for the England boss and feels like a virtually certain starter against the Czechs, but is the West Ham favourite making enough of a positive impact to merit that status?

Dropping anchor in the England midfield

Since Rice was persuaded to switch allegiance from the Republic of Ireland, who he represented in three international friendlies in 2018, Southgate has made the 22-year-old a key pillar of his side.

Of his 19 England appearances, 17 have been starts. Since making his debut from the bench in the opening Euro 2020 qualifier – when the Czech Republic were dispatched 5-0 at Wembley – two of the four competitive games in which Rice has not featured were the third-place match against Switzerland in the Nations League Finals and the formality of a World Cup qualifier versus San Marino.

The other two, perhaps tellingly in the eyes of some critics, were back-to-back European Championship qualifiers against Bulgaria and Montenegro that England won 6-0 and 7-0 in an expansive 4-3-3 setup.

There is a sense that a midfield axis of Rice and Kalvin Phillips represents undue caution on Southgate's behalf, leaving the team arguably light in the attacking-midfield positions where there is such a depth of options.

Phillips laid on Raheem Sterling's winner against Croatia and won deserved plaudits for an all-action display but the influence of Rice, whose performances at club level have impressed to the extent he has reportedly caught the attention of Chelsea and Manchester United, has been harder to spot.

Creator? Destroyer? Neither?

Of course, it is the lot of the defensive midfielder that plenty of their best work goes unnoticed, in both attack and defence. So, has Rice been quietly compiling impressive displays under the radar?

The numbers from England's first two Euro 2020 matches would suggest not. Across both of those games, he has made one tackle, no interceptions and recovered possession seven times.

Examining some players performing similar roles for teams with comparable pre-tournament hopes of success to England, Spain's Rodri and the Netherlands' Marten de Roon also made a tackle apiece across the first two match days. However, De Roon boasted three interceptions and 12 recoveries – the latter the same as Phillips, incidentally – and Rodri has two and 11 on those metrics.

Jorginho, whose club status at Chelsea would come into question were those Rice rumours to come to fruition, has been the conductor for Italy. After starting all three group victories for Roberto Mancini's side, the former Napoli player – not noted as an overly combative presence – made three tackles, seven interceptions and 16 recoveries.

Within a free-flowing Azzurri, Jorginho has also created five chances, which feels like an over-performance for a player in his role considering the numbers for De Roon (two), Rodri (one) and Rice (zero).

 

Nevertheless, even if holding players do not always contribute directly to goal attempts, their creative influence can be vital at the fulcrum of the side.

Rice and De Roon have each been involved in five open-play sequences leading to shots, with Rodri on seven and Jorginho way out in front on 18.

The Italy man's average carry progress - the distance he moves vertically upfield when in possession of the ball - is 5.6 metres, ahead of De Roon's 3.2m.

There is little argument Italy and the Netherlands have provided far more entertainment value than Spain and England, with Rodri and Rice's progressive carry averages clocking a far more conservative 1.9m and 1.6m respectively.

This is despite Rice's average carry distance overall being 10.8m, more than his three counterparts, meaning he is moving a lot with the ball at his feet but not often forwards.

Shackled by Southgate?

Those figures create an unhelpful picture of a player not being particularly prolific in terms of snuffing out opposition attacks or launching them for his own team.

If Rice had been making comparable contributions at West Ham it is unlikely he would be anywhere near the England side and the drop-off from his club productivity for the opening two games of the Euros is stark.

During an impressive 2020-21 for David Moyes' side, Rice's averaged 6.1m for progressive carries and 12m overall.

His club v country disparity is comparable to Rodri, who clocked a 5m average for progressive carries for Premier League winners Manchester City. In this sense, Mancini's achievement with Jorginho is providing a structure where he can reach similar levels of effectiveness to those he does at Chelsea (4.7m per progressive carry).

Rice's carries led to four shots for the player himself during West Ham games last term (one goal) and five assists. Rodri fired five shots and created as many chances in this manner, with Jorginho and Atalanta's De Roon creating three and one chances respectively without attempting a shot between them.

 

For the Hammers, Rice averaged 7.28 recoveries per game and 1.84 for both tackles and interceptions, once again suggesting far more active and impactful displays than he has produced – or been allowed to produce - for England.

Much of the discussion around the England team has concerned whether Southgate should loosen the shackles on his full-backs and in central areas to give his attacking players a more progressive platform. Perhaps, in the case of his first-choice holding midfielder, part of the answer is already in the XI.

If Rice can bring his West Ham levels of influence to bear on the international stage, it could help England to be a more assertive presence overall. If his low-output efforts remain, then the likes of Jordan Henderson and Jude Bellingham should be asked to supply the midfield thrust he has failed to provide so far at Euro 2020.

Italy will hope their excellent record at the Stadio Olimpico can propel them towards Euro 2020 glory in Roberto Mancini's first tournament as coach, with a tricky test against Turkey first up for the competition's curtain-raiser on Friday.

It has been all change for Italy since their failure to qualify for the 2018 World Cup, with Mancini installed as Gian Piero Ventura's replacement and tasked with restoring the Azzurri's reputation.

What they hope will help is the fact all three of their group games – and a quarter-final – will be played at Rome's Stadio Olimpico, where they have never lost (W6 2D) in eight matches at major tournaments, while the Azzurri were one of just two teams along with Belgium to win all of their 10 qualifiers.

Of course, Italy wrapped up their qualifying campaign almost two years ago, with these finals pushed back 12 months because of the coronavirus pandemic, and Mancini has vowed to do the country proud after a difficult time as they look to claim a first European Championship since 1968.

In an open letter to fans, he wrote: "Sport in these moments is an essential tool of our life. It can help us feel better. Never before have we so badly needed it.

"Our national team is aware of representing a fantastic and determined people, and for this reason I, together with the staff and the guys who take the field, will use all the minutes of this event to honour the country that we represent.

"They will be moments of joy that will make us forget the past year for just a moment."

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Italy – Jorginho

While he will not necessarily be the man tasked with putting the ball in the net, unless Italy get a penalty, Jorginho performs a crucial function for Italy. He was one of three players to record over 1,000 touches in qualifying and his role as a conduit in possession is essential to how Mancini's team play. If he has a difficult game, the chances are the Azzurri will struggle by extension.

Turkey – Hakan Calhanoglu

Although Italy will be favourites here, Turkey should not be underestimated. Possessing the youngest squad at the Euros, they are a vibrant and technically gifted bunch. Arguably encapsulating those traits better than anyone else in the team is Calhanoglu. The Milan midfielder offers almost guaranteed creativity, as evidenced by the fact he created the most chances in Serie A (98) in 2020-21, while his nine assists came from an xA (expected assists) value of 8.5, suggesting his haul was born out of consistency rather than luck.

 

KEY OPTA FACTS

- Despite playing 38 games in the European Championship, Italy have never scored more than two goals in a match. They have also drawn more games than any other side in the tournament's history (16), while also taking part in the most goalless matches (eight).

- The Azzurri scored 37 goals in their 10 qualification matches (3.7 per game); this was the same tally as they scored in qualification for Euro 2016 and the 2018 World Cup combined (37 goals in 22 games).

- Turkey conceded only three goals in 10 games in the Euro 2020 qualifying campaign, the joint-best defensive record alongside Belgium.

- This will be Senol Gunes' second major tournament as Turkey head coach (World Cup/European Championships), 18 years after leading his nation to a third place at the 2002 World Cup, their best-ever performance in the competition.

- Turkey and Italy's only previous encounter in a major tournament was at Euro 2000, also on 11th June. It was their opening game of the tournament, ending 2-1 to Italy courtesy of goals from Antonio Conte and Filippo Inzaghi, the latter of whom netted a penalty. It was also in that game that Okan Buruk scored Turkey's first ever goal in the European Championship.

 

N'Golo Kante "becomes an animal that never stops running" when he puts on the Chelsea shirt, team-mate Davide Zappacosta has told Stats Perform.

The France international has won three major honours in five years at Chelsea since joining from Leicester City, where he played his part in a shock Premier League triumph in 2016.

He has also lifted the World Cup with France and will be looking to add a first Champions League title to his collection when Chelsea take on Manchester City in Saturday's final.

Kante is a fitness doubt for the all-English showpiece and would be a huge miss for the Blues should he fail to fully recover from a niggling hamstring complaint.

The 2.48 interceptions Kante averaged per 90 minutes in the Premier League this season trailed only Wilfred Ndidi (2.52) among midfielders to have played at least 20 times.

He also ranked fifth for tackles per 90 with 3.31 – Leicester's Ndidi again led the way with 3.97 – and his importance was further highlighted in the European win over Atletico Madrid.

Kante recovered possession 13 times in the 2-0 last-16 first-leg victory – the most by a Chelsea player in the Champions League since Kante's own 13 versus Barcelona in February 2018. 

The former Leicester man's on-field persona is completely different to how he acts off it, though, where he often comes across as shy and reserved.

"What makes him so appreciated is his natural goodness and being genuine," said Zappacosta, who played in the same side as Kante for two seasons before spells with Roma and Genoa on loan.
 
"This kind of player conquers our hearts and is respected by all of us. Honestly, outside of the pitch, he is professional and calm; on it, he transforms.

"It's like he suffers from a double personality syndrome. Outside the pitch, he is so calm, and then on it, he becomes an animal that never stops running and is tough in duels.

"But he is an exceptional player and a very good chap."

Kante has formed a solid partnership with Jorginho in front of Chelsea's back four under Thomas Tuchel, the latter also topping Chelsea's scoring charts in the Premier League this season with seven goals, each of them penalties.

And Zappacosta is pleased that his compatriot, who is expected to be part of Italy's final Euro 2020 squad, has proved his doubters wrong.

"He has showed he can adapt to different roles in midfield," Zappacosta said. "Whether it's three midfielders or two, it makes no difference.

"If after so many Chelsea managers he is still in the starting line-up, there must be a reason. I think he is a very good player, very intelligent. He deserves to be there."

Zappacosta is set to return to Chelsea ahead of next season after a year on loan with Genoa, where he made 25 Serie A appearances, scoring four goals.

The 28-year-old has been impressed with the work Tuchel has done in west London since taking over from Frank Lampard midway through the campaign.

"I haven't watched so many Chelsea games in the Premier League because I was often playing at the same time," said Zappacosta, who has been linked with a move to Atalanta.

"But I have watched them in the Champions League and I have been impressed by their solidity and absurd intensity, and most of all by their style and ideas. 

"They play really well and I am so happy they managed to get to the final. I guess you can see the great work done by the new manager and his staff. 

"You see they are compact, intense and almost playing by heart. It is a pleasure to watch them play."

Another Premier League season has come to an end and Sergio Aguero added another top-flight record to his collection.

Manchester City's all-time leading goalscorer was already the top-scoring overseas player in Premier League history and his farewell brace from the bench in a celebratory 5-0 win over Everton made him the top one-club scorer in the division with 184.

Impressive, yes, but those are conventionally impressive numbers.

For the final time in 2020-21, Stats Perform takes a look through the more unusual figures to have emerged over the course of an action-packed round of games.

 

The year of the penalty

Anwar Al Ghazi's second-half penalty ultimately proved decisive as Aston Villa beat Chelsea 2-1 and it was also a landmark goal – the 100th spot-kick to be scored in the Premier League this season.

Never before have penalty goals ticked into three figures, with the effects of VAR arguably keenly felt.

However, does the volume of penalties being given mean they are less costly than they once were? Manchester City conceded 10 in a season for the first time and ended up as champions.

The 10th came at the Etihad Stadium on Sunday, although Ederson was on hand to keep out Gylfi Sigurdsson's attempt and preserve a 19th clean sheet of the season.

There should be little surprise that a penalty ended up being awarded during the game. When Ruben Dias brought down Richarlison it was the 19th time Michael Oliver had pointed to the spot this season.

That amounts to a new high for an individual referee during a campaign, usurping the inimitable Mike Dean's 17 in 2009-10. Perhaps the Merseyside official will view it as a challenge?

 

Chelsea share the wealth

Thomas Tuchel's side stumbled rather than strode into the top four, going down to a 2-1 defeat at Villa Park and finding themselves in the unusual position of being grateful for a Tottenham victory at Leicester City.

Chelsea might have secured Champions League qualification in more stress-free fashion if any of their players had bothered scoring more goals.

Yes, that might not be the most earth-shaking piece of tactical insight, but the Blues have provided one of the season's statistical curiosities.

They are the first team in a century to have reached the top four despite having no player reach double figures for league goals, with the previous team to manage the feat in such a fashion being Everton in 1910-11.

What's more is their top Premier League scorer Jorginho netted all seven from the penalty spot. Tammy Abraham, Timo Werner and Mason Mount – all of whom have experienced sharply contrasting fortunes since Tuchel replaced Frank Lampard in January – have six apiece.

Jorginho is the Blues' lowest scoring top-scorer in a top division season since Ian Hutchinson also led the way with seven in 1974-75.

Players certainly seem to have no problem scoring once they leave Chelsea. Aston Villa's Bertrand Traore became the 25th old Stamford Bridge employee to score against his former club. No Premier League side has seen ex-players score against them more often.

 

Blades creators not cutting through

If individual goal tallies are a cause for concern at Chelsea, relegated Sheffield United can roll their woes back one more step in the process.

No Blades player will return to the Championship with more than two assists to their name, with John Lundstram, John Fleck and George Baldock all level as their most prolific – in the loosest sense of the word – creators.

In the history of the Premier League, only one other team has gone through a season without a player reaching at least three assists. Mark Kinsella, Steve Jones, Danny Mills, Richard Rufus and Eddie Youds had two apiece for Charlton Athletic in 1998-99.

United at least signed off with a 1-0 victory over Burnley. David McGoldrick's winner was the 1,000th goal scored in the Premier League this season.

 

No, no, no, no on last day for Nuno

Nuno Espirito Santo said farewell to Wolves having restored the club to the Premier League and enjoyed a wonderful four seasons in charge.

But maybe the Portuguese tactician should have headed off on his holidays early, because just about the one thing not to have improved during his Molineux tenure is Wolves' final-day record.

In the four seasons before Nuno arrived in the midlands, the club won four in a row on the last day of the season between 2013-14 and 2016-17.

Promotion from the Championship had already been secured before a 3-0 loss to Sunderland to close out 2017-18. Liverpool beat Wolves 2-0 at Anfield as their final-day title bid fell short in 2019.

Chelsea won 2-0 at Stamford Bridge last July as Nuno's men cast an eye towards their pending Europa League bid and Manchester United's 2-1 weekend triumph made it four concluding losses out of four.

Miralem Pjanic has been used sparingly at Barcelona since his off-season move from Juventus last year and may be on the move again soon.

The Bosnian was a regular for Juventus during four title-winning Serie A seasons prior to the switch.

With Barca's LaLiga title challenge faltering, the club are eager to mix things up in the next transfer window.

 

TOP STORY - BARCELONA PLOT SWAP DEAL WITH CHELSEA

Barcelona are looking to complete a swap deal with Chelsea whereby Pjanic and Jorginho would be exchanged, claims Sport.

Barca head coach Ronald Koeman is behind the move as he tries to land Jorginho and is willing to use the out-of-favour Pjanic to facilitate the deal.

Sport also claims that if Chelsea are not interested, the Catalans may suggest a trade with Inter involving Pjanic and an unnamed Nerazzurri player.

 

ROUND-UP

Roma have joined the list of clubs keen on Brighton and Hove Albion's Ben White, according to The Sun, with Jose Mourinho's Premier League knowledge playing a part. Manchester United and Arsenal are also said to be keen on White.

- The Telegraph claims Arsenal are interested in making a move to sign Moussa Dembele, who has had underwhelming loan spell at Atletico Madrid from Lyon.

Eric Garcia is on his way to Barcelona, according to Goal, who reports they have reached an agreement to sign him. The defender's contract is up at the end of the season.

- Chelsea's veteran forward Olivier Giroud has attracted interest from Inter and Lazio, claims Calciomercato.

- Calciomercato also reports Milan are tracking Tottenham full-back Serge Aurier.

Chelsea midfielder Jorginho believes Frank Lampard "skipped some steps" and was not ready to become head coach at Stamford Bridge.

Lampard, the club's record goalscorer, was appointed by the Blues ahead of the 2019-20 season, having impressed with Derby County in the Championship.

The former England star guided Chelsea to a top-four finish in his first season as a Premier League boss, as well as the FA Cup final where they were beaten by Arsenal.

But there were few signs of progress by the time Lampard was sacked in January of this year, with the team in ninth, and he was replaced by Thomas Tuchel.

Lampard picked up 1.67 points per game across his Chelsea reign, the fourth-lowest mark among the club's Premier League managers.

No Blues boss has seen his team average fewer goals in the competition, with Lampard's side scoring 1.35 per game.

Only five Chelsea players appeared more times in the league under Lampard than Jorginho (42), while his seven goals also ranked sixth in that time.

But despite being a key man in that side, Jorginho felt Lampard's inexperience told.

"Look, I'll be really sincere here on Lampard," he told ESPN Brasil.

"I believe, given he was a legend at the club, he skipped some steps necessary for learning before moving to a big club.

"He came to a club where he is a legend, without having experience at other clubs. I think he came too soon, skipped a few steps ahead and wasn't ready for a job at this level, to be honest."

Chelsea have since lost only two of 20 matches in all competitions under Tuchel, the second of which still secured their Champions League progress against Porto.

Tuchel's side are through to the semi-finals in Europe, as well as climbing into the top four in the league and reaching the FA Cup final.

Thomas Tuchel's impressive start to life as Chelsea head coach continued with a 2-0 win over Everton at Stamford Bridge on Monday. 

The German has now overseen an unbeaten stretch of 11 games since taking over from Frank Lampard on January 26, with this result the Blues' eighth win in that period. 

Ben Godfrey's first-half own goal put the hosts ahead before Jorginho's penalty after the break ensured Everton's winless run at Chelsea would stretch to 26 Premier League games.

Chelsea remain in fourth but move back to within three points of third-placed Leicester City - winners against Brighton and Hove Albion this weekend - while the Toffees are now four points further back in fifth.

The closest either side came in the opening half-hour was a Jorginho effort from outside the penalty area that flashed past Jordan Pickford's right-hand post. 

The hosts did open the scoring after 31 minutes, though, when Kai Havertz's volley from Marcos Alonso's cross was diverted past Pickford by the unfortunate Godfrey.

Pickford was called into action shortly before the interval, saving from Alonso, who went close with a free-kick following the restart.

Havertz had a strike ruled out after he handled the ball before firing past Pickford, but Richarlison squandered a golden opportunity to pull Everton level when he skewed wide after being released by Gylfi Sigurdsson.

Chelsea wrapped up maximum points after 65 minutes, Jorginho stroking home from the spot after Pickford had brought down Havertz inside the area.

Superb goalkeeping from Pickford in the closing stages at least prevented Chelsea adding further gloss to the scoreline, the England number one twice keeping out Timo Werner as well as denying N'Golo Kante and Mason Mount.

 

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