Mancini: ‘Bodes well for Italy future’

Roberto Mancini maintains Italy’s debutants and an improving Mario Balotelli “bode well for the future” after the 3-1 defeat to France.

The Coach had his second friendly game on the Azzurri bench, having beaten Saudi Arabia 2-1 on Monday, and chose a very experimental side.

Mattia Caldara, Rolando Mandragora and Domenico Berardi made their debuts, while Danilo D’Ambrosio had only one previous cap as a last-minute substitute.

“We made a few mistakes, but France are one of the best teams in the world right now and I am satisfied with the performance,” said Mancini in his Press conference.

“It is only natural we have to improve, but I had real hope we’d score for 2-2 at the start of the second half. Instead, we misplaced a pass in midfield and France scored on the counter. Our opponents deserved the victory in the end.”

Federico Chiesa was probably Italy’s most impressive player in Nice, as the 20-year-old Fiorentina winger made a big impression on the French reporters.

“I believe these games, which nobody likes to lose but we assumed could happen, will help players such as Chiesa, Berardi and Caldara to grow both physically and in terms of character. I did not see fear in their eyes before the game.

“The right path is what we saw this evening, but I don’t know how long it’ll take to reach that level. We must do well in competitive games, those will be very important, even if I don’t like to lose friendlies either.

“I saw a good approach, but there were too many technical errors. We allowed far too many counter-attacks with our misplaced passes, including the third goal.

“I think it’s more important to play hard friendlies and face the best teams, as it’s the only way to grow and improve. Playing against weaker sides might boost confidence in the short-term, but that’s really all they do.”

Mario Balotelli scored against Saudi Arabia and played his part tonight too, as his free kick was parried into the path of Leonardo Bonucci for the Italy goal.

“I liked his performance more tonight than with Saudi Arabia. He can improve further, but the fact he is already doing better from one game to the next bodes well for the future.”

Mancini promised more changes for Monday’s final friendly of the season, as Italy host the Netherlands in Turin.

“I have four or five fresh players who I want to see in action. Those who didn’t play today will be on the field against Holland in another high-level test.

“Alessandro Florenzi will leave the training camp, as his second daughter is about to be born, so we’re letting him go.”

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