Former Italy coach Antonio Conte has heaped praise upon current boss Roberto Mancini ahead of Italy’s Euro 2020 opener on Friday night.
The man who led Italy between 2014 and 2016 took questions about the Azzurri’s chances this summer, which will be the first tournament they’ve competed at since Conte left the job, having failed to make the 2018 World Cup.
“Roberto is doing a great job, not only the results say it,” Conte said in an interview with La Gazzetta dello Sport on the eve of the European Championship. “He has managed to create a convinced, enthusiastic, cohesive group. A collective that believes in itself and gives everything. It’s not easy.”
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Many people believe that Italy’s incredible run coming into the tournament of 27 games unbeaten could have led to some false expectations of what the side can achieve. Conte thinks the form can only be a good thing.
“When you start in such an important competition there is always a fair amount of enthusiasm,” Conte said. “Around this national team, there is even more than mine thanks to the 27 consecutive results and the many excellent performances. we start with the wind in our sails .”
“I would take the positive aspect of these 27 positive results: the confidence in one’s own means, the awareness of being good and being able to play with everyone.”
When asked to choose which Azzurri players he thinks will be key to any potential success, he cited a mix of players he has and hasn’t coached in the past.
“[Lorenzo] Insigne’s ability to beat a man, the dribbling of [Federico] Chiesa and [Domenico] Berardi, the insertions of [Nicolo] Barella, the strength of central defence with [Leonardo] Bonucci and [Giorgio] Chiellini who remain a guarantee, the reactivity and athletic overwhelming power of [Gianluigi] Donnarumma, one of the three best goalkeepers in the world.”