Italy head coach Roberto Mancini has praised his players for handling the pressure well after claiming an emphatic 3-0 victory over Turkey in Friday night’s Euro 2020 opener in Rome.
Merih Demiral’s own goal early in the second half gave Italy a deserved lead and further goals from Ciro Immobile and Lorenzo Insigne served warning that Mancini’s side are genuine contenders.
Mancini said at his post-match media conference: ‘It wasn’t easy because it was the opening match at the Olympic Stadium, with the fans behind us.
‘We knew there was a bit more pressure than there usually is, so I’m delighted with the performance.’
Italy totally dominated the match and were rewarded for their patience and bravery on the ball as Turkey packed their defence.
‘We’re delighted to have put a smile on the faces of all the Italians who watched the game,’ Mancini said.
‘It was a wonderful night. I expected it to be a great occasion, but we also knew it wouldn’t necessarily be easy because Turkey are a very good team with lots of talented players.
‘We produced a very good performance and we really didn’t afford them many opportunities at all.’
Italy extended their unbeaten run to 28 matches – their last defeat was by Portugal in November 2018 – but Mancini was realistic about Italy’s chances of going all the way.
‘We’ve only got six games to go!’ the former Manchester City boss added. ‘There’s still a long way to go and there are a number of good teams in this tournament.
‘It was important to get off to a good start. We produced an excellent performance against a team that wasn’t as weak as they seemed.’
— Italy ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ (@azzurri) June 5, 2021
Turkey head coach Senol Gunes could not hide his disappointment after his players fell short of his expectations in the tournament opener.
‘They were more dominant than us, we lost the ball so many times and this just gave the advantage to our opponent,’ Gunes said. ‘After we conceded the first goal we just really got distracted and lost control of the game. I can say, technically speaking, we had a very strong Italian team. I’m not very satisfied with the score. I was expecting better football here.
‘But even if we lose or win, the competition will continue. We just lost against a host team and we have two more important games against Wales and Switzerland.
‘We’ll tidy ourselves up and will start to prepare for those. Italy used the pitch very well, they just kept the ball and physically we fell from the game.’
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