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'Italy from demoralised to dominant'

Roberto Mancini is glad Italy proved their mettle against Bosnia-Herzegovina. “The Nazionale was demoralised, but now we play good football with a positive mentality.”

The Azzurri maintained their 100 per cent record in Euro 2020 qualifying thanks to a 2-1 victory, but conceded their first goal when Edin Dzeko opened the scoring.

Lorenzo Insigne scored one and set up another for Marco Verratti to turn the game around in Turin.

“It is certainly a step forward. In the first half, we were unable to press them properly and were too stretched out. It can happen when you play every three days,” said the CT in his Press conference.

“We usually don’t concede counter-attacks, but the important thing is that the attitude was positive. In the second half, we really pinned them back.

“Bosnia played a very good game and the defeat to Finland was just a hiccup. We knew this would be our toughest match of the group, especially against Miralem Pjanic and Dzeko, but we proved that we’ve got the character to always find goals.

“I knew that if we stayed calm and continued playing our football, we’d win. We just needed a spark and that was the equaliser.”

Insigne scored with a sensational volley, his second in as many games after Saturday’s 3-0 win in Greece.

“All players go through difficult moments, find the goal and then start playing better. It’s just a matter of time and just as he found his way, so will others.”

Dzeko’s opener was the first goal conceded in Euro 2020 qualifying by Italy, ending a run of six consecutive clean sheets, their best run since 1990.

“You can’t always go in front and keep the ball at all times. You must find the strength and concentration to turn the game around when things don’t go your way.

“After dominating our last few matches, we could’ve lost our heads and conceded a second goal, but everyone did so well and we took control in the second half.”

Italy are scoring regularly, netting 13 times in their four Euro 2020 qualifiers, but curiously the centre-forwards are contributing very little to that tally.

“Their goals will come too. I am not very worried about that,” continued Mancini.

“I think our progress has been very positive. When we started this journey, the Nazionale was demoralised, but now we play good football with a positive mentality. We must continue improving if we want to reach the Euros, though.

“There are always going to be risks, but if you have an attacking mentality, you need to defend too. The important thing is not to lose your identity or style of football.

“I want to take control of matches and impose our own identity on the game. You can’t win every game, but you should at least try.

“The reason it works is because Marco Verratti and Jorginho speak the same football language, but if we didn’t have Leonardo Bonucci and Giorgio Chiellini back there keeping the defensive line high…”

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