The Azzurri have suffered from a fall from grace in recent years but the coach is setting his sights high for next year’s showpiece
Italy national team coach Roberto Mancini has revealed that it is his team’s intention to go all the way and lift the trophy at the 2020 European Championship.
The Azzurri are well known to be one of the most successful national sides in the history of football, winning four World Cup titles and producing some of the game’s most iconic players.
Italy’s most recent silverware came back in 2006, however, their last World Cup victory, while they have failed to win a European Championship since 1968.
Struggles on the national stage have seen the country’s stock plummet in recent times, however, with there seemingly a dearth of talent to choose from compared to the glory days of old.
Mancini is hoping to change perceptions next year though, insisting that he and his charges should be aiming for nothing less than winning the competition – even if it takes a while for his players to gel.
“It is certainly a little more difficult, especially at the start, as if you have three or four players from one team then it’s easier for them to gel. Having said that, I think we overcame the initial difficult pretty well,” the former Man City boss told Rai Sport.
“We are happy to have given an identity to this team. We play attacking football and defend pretty well too. We’ve got almost a year to go before the Euros and we need to improve, but the objective is to win.
“Italy has won four World Cups. We have to aim to win.”
Mancini’s squad remain unbeaten in Euro qualifying Group J, winning all six of their games. If they beat Greece on Saturday evening, they will secure their place in the competition with three games to spare – a first in Euros history.
The 54-year-old, however, insists that there is still plenty of work to be done to get the best out of his preferred players.
“[Lorenzo] Insigne is a player of great quality,” Mancini said. “Naturally, if he spends a lot of time and energy tracking back, he loses that sharpness and unpredictability in attack.
“So we want him to keep playing with the team but also focus more on going forward. It depends on his team-mates, too, as if the whole side keeps pushing forward and doesn’t defend to deep, the strikers don’t waste too much energy going back to help.
“We know Insigne can probably give more than he does, even when he’s having a great night. When you find a player with that kind of quality, you always expect something more.
“I hope the Olimpico is pretty full,” he added. “I hope it’s full and that’s a sign of what we’ll see at the Euros. We have to take the game to Greece and keep improving as a team. That’s the objective.”