Italy coach Roberto Mancini had nothing but praise for his side as they showed their quality in securing a 2-0 victory over a defensive-minded Finland on Saturday.
Goals from Nicolo Barella and Moise Kean were enough for the Azzurri, as they extended their winning run in European Championship qualifiers to 31 matches – their last loss coming in September 2006 to France.
Having fielded several youngsters, Mancini was pleased to see his side step up their game after the restart, though he knows the round to Euro 2020 remains a long one.
“It wasn’t an easy match as they sat deep from the opening whistle,” he told Rai Sport. “We made a few mistakes, but in the second half we played much better.
“Kean? He must remain calm as slowly but surely his goals will come.
“In the first half there were several players putting pressure on him, but overall he played a great game. Kean has ample room for improvement. He and [Nicolo] Zaniolo have great quality.
“There is still a lot of work to do, but it’s hard to have done more after going five months without seeing one another.”
Next up for Italy is a match against Liechtenstein on Tuesday.