Leonardo Bonucci and Leonardo Spinazzola reflected on Roberto Mancini’s impact on the squad following Italy’s 3-0 thumping of Turkey in their Euro 2020 opener.
Italy returned to a major international tournament after missing out on the 2018 World Cup in remarkable fashion. Gli Azzurri went into the competition undefeated in 27 international matches (W22, D5) and immediately proved why many see them as one of the favorites to win the crown.
After a goalless first-half, Juventus defender Merih Demiral scored an own-goal to put Italy in front before Lazio’s Ciro Immobile propelled his team to a comfortable two-goal cushion. The 31-year-old then provided an assist for Lorenzo Insigne of Napoli to seal the Crescent-Stars’ faith.
Seeking redemption for the 2018 World Cup qualifying fiasco, the Italians have already showcased quality and character, with many pinning the team’s resurrection on Mancini. The Italian manager has sparked the motivation and winning mentality among the squad and has proved a catalyst to Italy’s recent rise to prominence.
During the post-match interview, the Juventus stalwart Leonardo Bonucci heaped praise on the ex-Inter Milan tactician.
“We play soccer now, as the coach has asked us to, and that’s the thing that has changed most over these last few years under Mancini,” Bonucci said as quoted by the Indian Express.
Joining Bonucci in praising Mancini was the Roma wing-back Leonardo Spinazzola, who soaked up the limelight as Italy’s first-choice left-back.
“We were already well aware of what a good side we are. We’re very relaxed,” Spinazzola said. “The coach is able to transmit that day-in and day-out.
“We have it all. Defense, a good midfield, and a quality attack. It’s an incredible mix of qualities,” he continued.
“Some of us are quite technical, others really strong, some have it all. We really have a lot of variety in this squad.”
Italy’s Euro 2020 adventure continues on June 16 as they meet Switzerland at the Stadio Olimpico on Matchday 2.