Roberto Mancini explains why he accepted the Italy job and the players in the current squad who have the strongest ‘character.’
The Azzurri are unbeaten since September 2018 and go into Euro 2020 off eight consecutive victories, having qualified with 10 wins out of 10.
“Players quickly realise if you are not competent,” the coach told RAI Sport documentary series Sogno Azzurro.
“The objective at first was to bring the people back to the Nazionale, after they had drifted away from their team. We tried to provide a change of mentality.
“I found many players with a strong character, not just Leonardo Bonucci and Giorgio Chiellini, but also Jorginho and Nicolò Barella, for example. If they know what to do, it’s easier to stay in contact with them.”
Mancini took over after Giampiero Ventura failed to qualify for the 2018 World Cup.
“I accepted the job because my life has always been a challenge. I also felt an urge to make up for the fact that, despite the quality I had as a player, I never won anything with the Azzurri. I played 20 years at the top level, so that allows me to pass on my experience to the players.
“The first rule is score goals and don’t concede them, but the fundamental element is to create a team spirit. That is why things have gone well so far.”
Mancini also introduced a more attacking style of football, which immediately made an impression in the friendly against the Netherlands.
“I think it was satisfying for everyone to hear ourselves applauded by the Dutch for our style of football, having dominated them on their own turf, especially after 100 years of being called defensive. We must give our all to get Italy back to the top of the world.”