Acerbi: Italy enjoying football

Francesco Acerbi said Italy are “enjoying our football” under Roberto Mancini and the Lazio defender is ready to fight for a place at Euro 2020.

The Azzurri have won all six Euro 2020 qualifiers so far, ahead of hosting Greece in Rome on Saturday and visiting Liechtenstein on Tuesday evening.

“We are happy to be playing in Rome, hope to win and put in a performance that entertains the crowd,” said the Lazio defender in his Press conference.

“We want to continue the winning streak and qualify for the Euros as soon as possible. For those of us who play our club football there, playing for Italy at the Olimpico will be an extra special feeling.

“I was in training with Italy and Antonio Conte up until Euro 2016, then the Coach made other choices. I want to be a part of the Euro 2020 squad, but let it be clear, I don’t just intend to be there for a cameo. I want to prove on the pitch, both with Lazio and here with Mancini, my desire to be a protagonist for Italy.

“It makes me very proud to represent Italy and playing for your country is always the apex for any professional.”

Acerbi was asked about the different tactical and philosophical style introduced to the Azzurri by Mancini.

“I like the way Mancini approaches football, as he wants us to push hard, keep the ball and attack the opposition. He brought ideas and a sense of confidence that gets the best out of the players. We get to attack, enjoy our football and press high up the pitch. It’s more fun.

“It’s never easy to win. On paper, we might be superior to some teams, but must always prove it on the pitch. You might win once or twice as a fluke, but six in a row means you’ve got a group of strong players.”

Acerbi’s Lazio teammate Ciro Immobile is challenging Torino striker Andrea Belotti for the starting spot in the Nazionale.

“They are similar in some ways, although Ciro has more movement, can shake off defenders, moves out wide so he can cut back in and is lethal in front of goal. Not many can get away from their markers with such ease.

“Belotti runs hard, never gives up and always tries to create chances. Both of them are forwards who rely on a lot of movement and a strong work-rate, so as a defender, I can tell you that makes them much tougher to deal with.”

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