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World Cup 2018

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Home Sport Football

Roberto Mancini hoping Italy can tighten up at the back

The Azzurri recently lost 3-1 at France.

New coach Roberto Mancini has promised Italy will get the defensive side of their game right ahead of Monday’s friendly against Holland.

Italy lost 3-1 away to France in Nice on Friday night after beating Saudi Arabia 2-1 a few days earlier, Mancini’s first game in charge.

“The game against France was very important for us and this too will help us learn for the future,” Mancini said at his pre-match press conference.

“All the goals we’ve conceded have come from our mistakes and that includes the France ones.

“They were never (from) their counter-attacks, but us giving the ball away.

“We’ll change practically everyone from the France game and are facing a side with a little more experience than us, but who are also rebuilding at the moment.

“We are forming something new, something different, with new players.

“It takes time, but we have enough quality to score goals even during this period.

“When we have a little more confidence, the defence will improve.”

Mancini has taken the unusual step of naming his side to meet Holland at the Juventus Stadium in Turin.

Napoli midfielder Jorginho will start and Torino striker Andrea Belotti replaces Mario Balotelli in attack.

“It will certainly be a 4-3-3 formation,” Mancini said.

“Jorginho is accustomed to a three-man midfield, while Simone Verdi can also play behind the strikers or be a good central midfielder.

“He has quality, class and technique.”

On Nice striker Balotelli, who the former Manchester City manager has restored to the fold after four years in exile, Mancini said, “I was fortunate enough to work with him when he was just a lad.

“Mario has quality that he has certainly thrown away to a degree over the years, but he has a long time ahead of him to make up for that.”

Holland, like Italy will be absent from the World Cup this month, and drew 1-1 away to Slovakia on Thursday.

Manager Ronald Koeman was unhappy after that game and plans to rotate his side in Turin.

“We now know how not to do it,” he was quoted as saying on Dutch website Algemeen Dagblad.

“I was not happy with our first-half performance, but we went for it when we were 1-0 down.

“I think players should be able to do that on the field before.”

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