Mancini ‘more positive about Italy now than after Germany draw’

Roberto Mancini continues to insist he feels ‘more positive’ after a 5-2 defeat to Germany than he did when drawing with England and Die Mannschaft. ‘We learned some important things and I expected to lose this badly earlier.’

The Azzurri were crushed 5-2 in Monchengladbach, but had been trailing 5-0 until the late goals from Willy Gnonto and Alessandro Bastoni.

This result sees them drop from first to third in the Nations League group on five points, behind Hungary on seven and Germany six, while England only managed two points after tonight’s shock 4-0 home defeat to Marco Rossi’s side.

It was a heavy loss, but Mancini had to point out he had warned of results like this from the start of this new era, having made radical changes and given debuts to so many young players.

“Nobody likes to lose, especially not 5-2, but unfortunately this is a process where things can go wrong,” said the coach in his press conference.

Nations League | Germany 5-2 Italy: Embarrassed in Gladbach

“We defended quite badly as a team, allowed Germany too much space to play in. There was a reaction eventually and there were some positives. The initial approach was completely wrong and physically we were nowhere near them either.

“It’s a pity, because we had the first scoring opportunity of the game.”

Italy held Germany to a 1-1 draw in Bologna on June 4 at the start of this new era and had taken the lead through Lorenzo Pellegrini. It was followed by a 2-1 win over Hungary and 0-0 draw away to England.

“The truth is, I thought we’d lose heavily to Germany in Bologna as well. If we have five points after four games, it means we’ve done pretty well.

“We’ve got to accept there will be these bumps on the road, but we need to go through this process to become a stronger team. At this moment, Germany are clearly on another level. There’s an enormous difference.”

Mancini tried to look on the bright side and found another very strong contender to be the heir to Giorgio Chiellini in defence.

“There were positives too. Gnonto scored his first goal and was among the best performers on the night. Giorgio Scalvini did really well coming off the bench. We saw him in training too, Scalvini is excellent both as a centre-back and a midfielder.”

The 18-year-old Atalanta defender is expected to take centre-stage for La Dea next season too, which is one of the reasons why Merih Demiral was released back to Juventus.

England were crushed 4-0 at home by Hungary in their Nations League match this evening, which Mancini considers a far worse result than Italy’s 5-2 in Germany.

“The fact is, England weren’t fielding kids, so that’s a very different kind of defeat. I feel far more positive today than I was after the draw with England or that 1-1 with Germany in Bologna, because I saw something in terms of our football, the tactical system. We understood some important things.

“We learned we can defend with three at the back, there are other systems compared to the 4-3-3, there are players who we can introduce and we will get back to being a team that comes to Germany not to be dominated, but to take control and dictate the tempo.

“There were positives despite the disappointment of the defeat.”