“The guys are very clever and they want to win every game. They have a good mentality,” said Mancini after Matteo Pessina’s 39th minute goal secured the Azzurri a third straight win in the continental competition.
“I am very happy also for this reason because we changed eight players and played a very good game,” added Mancini.
“The identity of the team has remained the same and I think that it is important. I say that changing a few players shouldn’t change anything on the pitch because everyone knows what they have to do. And, the product doesn’t change,” he explained.
The experienced Marco Verratti returned to the midfield as his recovery from injury cost him the chance to start in the opening two group games. Asked if his excellent display meant he had won back his starting place, Mancini dismissed the concept.
“All the players in my team showed that they are starters. It was a game that we wanted to win even if it could be unneeded. But, succeeding was a matter of mentality, it wasn’t easy. There are no starters, there are only the 11 who go on the pitch,” he said.
Wales defended doggedly, even after going down to 10 men since centre-back Ethan Ampadu was sent off in the 55th minute. But, Mancini wasn’t upset that his team failed to make the most of the numerical advantage.
“I think that we played against a good team. Wales is a good team, but we deserved to win. We couldn’t have done better. We could have scored a goal more, but Wales defended all the game and is a physical team. On top of that, it was hot,” he said.
The Italy head coach stressed that things would get tougher in the knockout stage of the 24-nation event. “We are happy. But, we know that after the group stage we start a new European championship. Now, it will be different,” signed off Mancini.
Results:Group A: Italy 1 (Matteo Pessina 39’) beat Wales 0; Switzerland 3 (Haris Seferovic 6’, Xherdan Shaqiri 26’ & 68’) beat Turkey 1 (Irfan Kahveci 62’)