Federazione Italiana Giuoco Calcio

Mancini before Nations League opener: "I want an Italy side that plays on the attack to win"

Italy go again against Poland and at a special venue: the Stadio Dall’Ara. It’s where Roberto Mancini made his Serie A debut 37 years ago and he played there in 1986 for the Azzurri before his competitive debut as Italy Head Coach tomorrow. "When I made my debut I was very emotional, I was 16 and it was difficult to make my debut at that age but tomorrow will also be a special emotion." 

Mancini didn’t offer an insight into the starting line-up saying that "It doesn't matter." His focus is elsewhere. "I have a team in mind but I want to tell the players of my decisions. It’s right to go again with the foundations created in June when we did quite well even if the players were tired at the end of the season. Attitude is what counts, I want a positive side. It’s better to have three points to play for rather than it being a friendly, it could especially help us with our young players. The standard increases when there’s a result on the line. Then, we’re in a group with two teams who are better than us at the moment and I think it’s a good thing, it will be a stimulus to do well." 

Mancini has clear ideas on what he wants to see from Italy: "We need to play to attack and take risks, taking some risks and we hope to do so as quickly as possible. This is the mentality that I want. We don’t have time to lose, even it’s not simple. There are some problems but that’s fine. This is a tournament that we can achieve something in it."

The most recent meeting was on 11 November 2011 when Italy won 2-0 in Wroclaw. The Azzurri haven’t played in Bologna since 17 November 2015 when they drew 2-2 with Romania and they have won 15 times, drawn twice and lost three times there. 

"Poland have been one of the strongest teams in Europe for years," Mancini added. "They had a great European Championship, an excellent World Cup qualifying campaign and a World Cup that was so-so. It will be a very difficult game for us, we’ll look to do well and win, taking on a team with technical quality and players who mostly went to the World Cup with some added youngsters. Our aim is qualification for the European Championship, matches such as the one tomorrow are needed so we can face the sides who are ahead of us. I’m happy to coach Italy, we have good players who just need to play."

"Criscito is a bit better, he’s coming in from an issue that he had a month ago but he’s in quite good shape physically," he added. I’m worried about those who haven’t played much at the start of the season. Some who haven’t played much with their clubs will play tomorrow, then we’ll make evaluations during the match."

Sat alongside Mancini, the new captain Giorgio Chiellini was ready to take on the new role. "I feel like one of the captains in this team because Daniele De Rossi and Gigi Buffon are still around. I hope to give a hand to this team on and off the pitch. There are lots of good players, lots of young players who I might be able to help with my experience and with the habits that come from playing at a certain level. I’ve seen lots of enthusiasm and talent, now there’s the need to improve and do so quickly." 


Goalkeepers: Alessio Cragno (Cagliari), Gianluigi Donnarumma (Milan), Mattia Perin (Juventus), Salvatore Sirigu (Torino);
Defenders: Cristiano Biraghi (Fiorentina), Leonardo Bonucci (Juventus), Mattia Caldara (Milan), Giorgio Chiellini (Juventus), Domenico Criscito (Genoa), Emerson Palmieri Dos Santos (Chelsea), Manuel Lazzari (Spal), Alessio Romagnoli (Milan), Daniele Rugani (Juventus), Davide Zappacosta (Chelsea);
Midfielders: Nicolò Barella (Cagliari), Marco Benassi (Fiorentina), Bryan Cristante (Roma), Roberto Gagliardini (Inter), Frello Filho Jorge Luiz Jorginho (Chelsea), Lorenzo Pellegrini (Roma), Nicolò Zaniolo (Roma);
Forwards: Mario Balotelli (Nizza), Andrea Belotti (Torino), Domenico Berardi (Sassuolo), Federico Bernardeschi (Juventus), Giacomo Bonaventura (Milan), Federico Chiesa (Fiorentina), Ciro Immobile (Lazio), Lorenzo Insigne (Napoli), Pietro Pellegri (Monaco), Simone Zaza (Torino).

Staff – Head Coach: Roberto Mancini; Team Manager: Gabriele Oriali; Assistant Coach: Alberico Evani, Angelo Adamo Gregucci, Giulio Nuciari, Fausto Salsano, Massimo Battara; Fitness Coaches: Claudio Donatelli and Andrea Scanavino; Match Analyst: Antonio Gagliardi; Doctors: Andrea Ferretti and Carmine Costabile; Physiotherapist: Maurizio Fagorzi, Emanuele Randelli, Fabrizio Scalzi, Luca Lascialfari; Osteopath: Walter Marinelli; Nutritionist: Matteo Pincella. 
The National Team’s schedule

Thursday 6 September
10.30 – Training (first 15 minutes open to the press)
14.30 – Poland’s press conference (Coach and 1 player – Ata Hotel Bologna)
17:00 – Transfer from Florence to Bologna
18.30 – Walk Around (Stadio Dall’Ara)
18.45 – Italy’s press conference (Coach and one player)
19.30 – Poland’s training session (Stadio Dall’Ara -first 15 minutes open ot the press)

Friday 7 September
20.45 – ITALY vs. Poland (UNL, matchday one– Stadio Dall’Ara)

Saturday 8 September
17 – Training (closed door at Casteldebole)

Sunday 9 September
11:00 – Training (first 15 minutes open to the press)
17:00 – Flight Bologna-Lisbon
19.30 – Walk around Estadio da Sport Lisboa e Benfica
20:00 – Italy press conference (Coach and one player - Estadio da Sport Lisboa e Benfica)

Monday 10 September
20.45 – Portugal vs. ITALY (UNL, matchday two– Estadio da Sport Lisboa e Benfica)