Italy coach Roberto Mancini isn’t surprised the Azzurri were made to work for their 3-1 victory over Armenia on Thursday.
Despite falling behind early, an Andrea Belotti brace and Lorenzo Pellegrini’s first senior goal were enough to maintain Italy’s perfect record in Euro 2020 qualifying.
Mancini was visibly frustrated at times during the match, but he insists he was pleased with how his team played considering they were going up against an Armenia side further along in their fitness preparations.
“They didn’t make me upset as I knew this would be a difficult match,” he told Rai Sport after the match. “We didn’t start well.
“We conceded the goal but then we bounced back and could have been ahead before the end of the first half.
“The red card maybe hurt us a bit as they defended after that and there were fewer open spaces.
“We aren’t overconfident. It was going to be difficult against players that are half way through their season.”
Federico Chiesa and Federico Bernardeschi struggled to find their footing in the match, but Mancini said he was happy with their efforts.
“They did what they had to do,” he stated. “They should have done more but it’s a question of fitness.
“Berna hasn’t played and Chiesa has had a bit of troubled start. However they gave their all.”
Marco Verratti will miss Sunday’s match against Finland after picking up a yellow, but Mancini already knows who will replace him.
“It seemed he was the only one that wasn’t involved in the incident,” Mancini stated regarding Verratti’s booking.
“I haven’t seen it all but Sensi will play [in his place].”