Roma defender Gianluca Mancini reveals the state of the artificial turf surprised Italy in Lithuania. ‘It was wet when we tried it yesterday, but very dry tonight.’
The Azzurri emerged 2-0 winners in Vilnius with a Stefano Sensi strike and late Ciro Immobile penalty.
It was far from a vintage performance, but enough to secure a third win out of three 2022 World Cup qualifiers.
“The coach changed many players, but the movements of the defence were mainly right,” Mancini told RAI Sport.
“We had a few difficulties in the first half especially with the turf. When we tried it yesterday, the pitch had been wet, so the ball moved much quicker. Tonight it was very dry, so the ball had to be pushed along and it bounced awkwardly.
“We came on for the second half with a different attitude, the goal then helped to open up the spaces and that made it easier.”
The Nazionale kept their sixth consecutive clean sheet, a fifth 2-0 win in a row, but Gianluigi Donnarumma did have a couple of saves to make.
“We got a bit too stretched out in the second half. Maybe with so many changes to the side, we had different characteristics. We also felt a little tired and Lithuania started to make through runs much better.
“It’s important not to allow even the two opportunities that they had, because those could’ve compromised a tricky game on a difficult pitch.”