ROME: Italy coach Roberto Mancini believes that the postponement of Euro 2020 could work in his team’s favour although a gap of 10 months between working with his players will create difficulties.
Mancini has revived Italy’s fortunes since taking over in 2018 after they had failed to qualify for the World Cup.
Under his leadership, they finished their Euro 2020 qualifying group with a 100% record and are on a run of 11 successive wins.
“If we had played the European Championship in June, we would have had a good chance but maybe we would have faced national teams who are better prepared because they started to rejuvenate the squad before us, or have a long-established team like France,” he told Sky Sport Italia.
“But with another year, the lads will have the opportunity to improve in every respect, they will gain experience.”
He added: “Our national side can compete among the best. I hope to be coach of the (Italy) team that will win the European Championship for the first time since 1968.”
Italy’s last match was a 9-1 win over Armenia in November. Their two friendlies scheduled for March were postponed because of the coronavirus outbreak and all matches due to be played in June and July have also been called off with Euro 2020 moved back by one year.
Italy’s next scheduled matches will be in September.
“We haven’t seen each other for months, we’ll see each other in September and it will have been almost a year,” said Mancini.
“It will be difficult. Then we’ll have a congested calendar with the Nations League, European championship and World Cup qualifiers. There will be very few opportunities to train.”
Italy has registered 132,547 cases of coronavirus, with 16,523 deaths.
“There is great bitterness,” said Mancini.
“Unfortunately many people are no longer with us and that is the most difficult thing to accept.”
“None of us would have wanted the postponement of the Euros. Many people have died and football takes second place.”