Mancini Previews Key World Cup Qualifier with Switzerland

Italy coach Roberto Mancini held the usual pre-game presser today: “We are sorry for having lost Ciro Immobile and Giorgio Chiellini, but all the national teams are in the same boat. There are more injuries in this stretch. But we are in a positive situation. We know what our identity is and that we have to keep our composure. A tough game awaits us.”

“Andrea Belotti has some chances to start, but we will evaluate him after today’s practice. He does not have the full 90 minutes in his legs, but I would be happy anyway if he scored in the first hour. Nicolò Barella is fit and I think he will be on the pitch tomorrow. I am sure the Stadio Olimpico will give us a big boost. It is always nice to play here.”

Mancini assessed the morale of the Azzurri: “The guys are serene but focused. They know that they need to be at their 100 percent to win, without paying attention to the outside noise. I have seen them well.” 

The coach weighed in on Switzerland: “They have been playing excellent football for years. Our bouts against them have always been challenging. We must stick to our guns. They will try to do their best, as we will. I do not know if they will play not to lose or if they will tweak their formation in light of their absences.”

Mancini concluded: “The squad has not changed a lot compared to the summer. We still have room for improvement ahead of the World Cup. I do not think anybody should feel anxious before a big game. They must be happy because playing is the best thing you could do.”