Italy Head Coach Mancini beats Vittorio Pozzo’s record: “I’m happy but the road is still long”

A tenth straight win broke the record previously held by the legendary former Coach

Source: Friday, November 15, 2019

Mancini beats Vittorio Pozzo's record:

He may not have two World Cups on his honours list or Olympic gold like Vittorio Pozzo but Roberto Mancini now has the longest winning streak as Italy Coach, overtaking the legendary former boss who won consecutive World Cups in 1934 and 1938. Mancini has done an excellent job of leading the side to the European Championship finals and the team will be a top seed during the draw on 30 November in Bucharest before the tournament kicks off on 12 June 2020 in Rome. “It’s nice to have gone ahead of a legend like Pozzo but he won five trophies, including two World Cups,” said Mancini. “The road is still long but we’re happy. It was an excellent performance from Italy, we knew that we were up against a solid and strong side and it wasn’t going to be an easy game but we did well and shaped the game like we wanted to early on.”

The Coach was asked about individuals with Tonali making his first start: “It went well, he’s not Verratti but he has similar characteristics.” Belotti was also discussed after hitting the third goal. “If he scores it’s always a good thing, let’s hope that he and Immobile keep scoring at the European Championship.” Overall though, it was the entire group who bounced back after the disappointment of missing out on the last World Cup. “Football is like that. At times there are unexpected results even when they’re not deserved. The guys have been good, they’ve done well technically from the start also. Everyone played well today, you don’t win 3-0 otherwise.” There was only one negative point for the Coach following the whistle: “At the end, we dropped back too deep and we need to improve on that. When you start to tire, it’s better to defend higher up.”

After hitting two goals a month ago against Liechtenstein in Vaduz, Andrea Belotti scored again to take his overall Azzurri tally up to nine and he’s the highest scorer in the current squad. “When I go on, I always look to give my best and help the team,” he said. “Then, if you score it’s something you’ve earned as a striker. Ten wins from ten is good for a side that had to start again, it’s nice because winning helps you to keep winning. We’ll take the record but we want other records and have other dreams. Mancini has made a big impact and he has very clear ideas. Of course, it wasn’t easy to go again after what had happened and he helped us to do so in a way that shouldn’t be taken for granted.”

On Monday against Armenia, it will be Immobile’s turn. “More than a rival, Ciro is a friend and a really great forward and he’s showing it. I don’t think one forward is enough for Italy and more are needed. If we keep it up, it’s all for the good of the National Team. I don’t think I’m higher in the pecking order, I need to earn my spot in every game. I just need to stay focused.” On Monday, the side will play in Palermo which is one of Belotti’s former clubs. “It’s a city that gave me a lot. We hope that a lot of fans will be there because we want to make them happy.”

Francesco Acerbi is less used to finding the net but you couldn’t tell with the quality of his first international goal. “We played a great game at a difficult place to visit,” he said. “We’re an excellent group with a mix of young and experienced players. We’re on the right toad.”

Gianluigi Donnarruma was one of the best players, making a number of superb saves: “I can feel the faith of the team and Coach in me,” said the goalkeeper. “We played excellently, we knew it wouldn’t be easy and we did very well. Can we win them all at the European Championship? We’re a great team and we know that we can play against anyone.” 

It was a memorable night for Sandro Tonali who started for the first time in Zenica after coming on previously against Liechtenstein. “I’m happy with what we did as a team away from my own performance. I’m happy that I was able to deal with the emotion of starting and I’ll give everything to be in the final squad of 23 for the European Championship.”