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Mancini: ‘Italy want Nations League final’

Roberto Mancini has said he would like Italy to reach the Nations League final by building on his record run as they face Bosnia and the Netherlands.

The Azzurri are back in business on Friday September 4 against Bosnia-Herzegovina in Florence, then travel to Holland on Monday September 7.

“I am very happy to be back at Coverciano and ready to get working again,” said Mancini in his press conference.

The first match of this Nations League is against Edin Dzeko’s Bosnia, who Italy beat home and away in the Euro 2020 qualifiers last year.

In truth, the Azzurri beat everyone in that campaign, winning all 10 qualifiers, and are currently on an all-time record run of 11 consecutive victories.

“It won’t be an easy test, as I remember Bosnia had taken the lead when we met in Turin, so we require concentration and keep our eyes open. After that, we can think about the Netherlands.”

There had been some reports the CT was approached by clubs this summer, including Inter, Juventus and Roma.

“I received no calls. I started this work two years ago, we have done well so far and I hope to do even better. I want to see my Nazionale playing good football and reaching the Nations League final phase.

“I called up more players than usual this time because we don’t know the condition of many of them, while we can also evaluate others ahead of the October and November matches.

“Undoubtedly, we’re going to have to take physical fitness levels into account when choosing the team. I do still think a quality player can give his contribution even without 90 minutes in his legs, so we’ll see.

“The foundations are in place and we have a specific style of football now, which we can vary depending on the players at our disposal. We are missing an important player like Marco Verratti for these games, while Jorginho should arrive tomorrow, but we’re not sure yet what his condition is.”

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Jorginho was in quarantine after close contact with someone who had COVID-19, but should be given the all-clear over the next 24 hours.

“In attack we have plenty of options to choose from, with Ciro Immobile, Andrea Belotti, Ciccio Caputo, Kevin Lasagna, Moise Kean… There is still a hierarchy, as some players have been part of the project for the full two years.”

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