Roberto Mancini, Italy coach, brought in his replacement goalkeeper Salvatore Sirigu in Sunday’s Euro 2021 game against Wales to get his whole squad involved, also based on his personal history.
Gianluigi Donnarumma left the pitch all smiles a few minutes before his teammates on Sunday before the final whistle (89th) between Italy and Wales (1-0). Roberto Mancini, the coach, replaced him with Salvatore Sirigu to offer him symbolic playing time during Euro 2021. A classy gesture intended to involve all the players in the workforce during this Euro. Mancini thus offered playing time to 25 of his 26 players summoned for the competition. Only Alex Meret, third goalkeeper, did not get a few minutes.
At the end of the meeting, Mancini did not particularly reconsider his gesture. But he insisted on the importance of keeping his whole group in the project. And his players have largely responded to his confidence since, despite eight changes, the Nazionale signed its third victory in as many group matches.
“There are no incumbents, there are only the eleven who go on the field”
“The identity of the game has remained the same and I think it is important, he said after the match. Changing some players should not change anything because everyone knows what they have to do and the result does not change. Today they showed that they are all starting. It was a game that we wanted to win even if it could be pointless, but succeeding was a question of mentality, it was not not easy. There are no incumbents, there are only the eleven who go on the field. “
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Several media believe that this approach is intimately linked to the personal memories of Roberto Mancini. In his time as a player, the former winger had a tumultuous history with the selection (36 caps, 4 goals) due in particular to his outspokenness and a strong character. He had thus lived as a tear not to come into play a single minute during the 1990 World Cup, completed in the semifinals. “He has never been a heart of a lion,” he blurted out towards Azeglio Vicini, the coach, then in place.
“The best European coach” for the Gazzetta
He was inspired by this experience to reproduce the opposite with his players. And it works. Appointed in May 2018 at the head of a team absent from the World Cup, the former player of Sampdoria has since signed feats. He equaled the unbeaten 30-game unbeaten record of Vittorio Pozzo (coach who offered Italy two World Cups in 1934 and 1938), while also equaling the number of games in a row without conceding a goal ( 11). For the Gazzetta dello Sport, he is even currently “the best European coach”.