Mancini: “Let’s take each match as it comes”

APPIANO GENTILERoberto Mancini touched on a variety of subjects in his lunchtime press conference today as he looked ahead to Saturday’s clash at Empoli. Mancini spoke of his desire for continuity and urged his players to maintain their efforts: “I believe we have a chance of catching the group of teams ahead of us.”

Asked his opinion on tomorrow’s match, Mancini replied: “Empoli are a great team with a top manager. They’re having a good season and it’s never easy to go to Empoli and win. We’ll have to be on our toes because they know exactly what they’re doing there. We need to be completely focused on Empoli. After tomorrow, we can concentrate on the Coppa Italia and on the Torino match. All games are difficult here,” explained Mancini.

The subject of questioning then turned to individual players: “Having Ranocchia available is a bonus, but we’ll decide tomorrow. There’s a lot more to come from Mateo Kovacic, in my opinion. It’s clear that as he develops he’ll get even better. He’s improving every day and can make the difference at any moment in a match.

“Shaqiri has trained well for the whole week, but he definitely won’t be playing the full 90 minutes. M’Vila needs to play football, but I can’t guarantee him that. He’s been working separately and we’ll see over the coming days whether there are any possibilities for him. Osvaldo is working with one of the coaches and we’ll see what happens in the next couple of days for him too. Hernanes can play as a central midfielder – he did it domestically in Brazil and has played there for the national side. He can play anywhere,” declared the Nerazzurri boss.

There was also a word on Palacio and Vidic: “Palacio is 100% available. Signing Shaqiri and Podolski means I’ve got more options now. Vidic has improved both physically and mentally. He’s got incredible experience, great charisma and I’m really happy with the performance he put in on Sunday.”