Roberto Mancini said on Thursday he will not let Italy’s injury crisis worry him ahead of England’s visit to the Nations League, a team he says is one of the best in the world.
Mancini lost midfielders Marco Verratti, Sandro Tonali, Lorenzo Pellegrini and Matteo Politano in the run-up to Friday’s League A, Group 3 match at the San Siro, one of the European champions’ last until next year, because they didn’t they managed to qualify for the next World Cup in Qatar.
He told reporters on Thursday that AC Milan’s Tonali would miss the England game and Monday’s trip to Budapest to face group leaders Hungary as he was “not in good condition” when he arrived at the club’s training center. Azzurri in Coverciano.
“I’m not worried. It’s a match we’re facing at a delicate moment for us because we’re missing a lot of players,” Mancini said.
“Unfortunately, we’ve had problems for a long time. Not having many players playing in the league compared to the past is a problem, but we can’t continue with that. We need to find solutions and we will, just like we did in the past.”
England are at risk of being relegated to League B. Gareth Southgate’s side sit bottom of the group without a win.
England are five points behind Hungary and will face Germany on Monday after recently facing the bogey side of Italy.
“It’s a great team, it was at the European Championship and it was also a few years before. It’s a team full of great young players and it can still improve,” said Mancini.
“I think they are one of the best teams in the world. They are full of talent, especially in attack. They have a lot of players, starting with Kane, who is extraordinary. Then all the youngsters around him can also make a difference.”
Gianluigi Donnarumma will return to the San Siro as an Italy player for the first time since March’s Nations League final, when he was booed and booed by home fans furious at his decision to move to Paris Saint-Germain on a free transfer.
Captain Leonardo Bonucci called the fans who harangued Donnarumma “fools” and said that “every player who plays for the national team represents his country and represents the one who is booing.”
“I think there’s still excitement around this pick, but obviously it amplifies when you start winning,” Bonucci added.
“We need wins… we need to play games in a way that shows that the misstep we had in qualifying for the World Cup is a thing of the past.”