World News

Roberto Mancini reveals desire to stay on as Italy manager

Matt O'Connor-Simpson
Mancini led Italy to Euro 2020 glory
Mancini led Italy to Euro 2020 glory / Claudio Villa/GettyImages

Roberto Mancini has insisted that he wants to remain Italy manager despite their shock World Cup qualification exit at the hands of North Macedonia last week.

After failing to top their group, Gli Azzurri faced the lottery of the playoffs and were handed a seemingly straightforward first game against relative minnows.

However, they ended up being dumped out, with Aleksandar Trajkovski hitting a stoppage-time winner to set up a one-legged shootout against Portugal for a place at the 2022 World Cup.

Prior to this embarrassment, Mancini's time in the hot seat had been extremely successful. He took Italy from one of their lowest ebbs – they failed to make the 2018 World Cup too – to European champions just a few years later.

Speaking before his side's friendly against Turkey on Tuesday, Mancini revealed that he had no intention of throwing the towel in despite the setback.

"We’ve spoken these days. I think we have the same ideas on everything. We’ll talk again in the next few days. Now, let’s focus on the game, then we’ll see what we must improve in the future. It’s all here," he said.

"We need to start again and think about different situations. We have difficult games ahead. We’ll see. Despite the huge disappointment, I am happy to see that the job we’ve done in the last four years has been appreciated. The victory at the Euros was not the only good thing we did.

"The lads deserve the praise for what we’ve done. I can say that these guys are special. The group is exceptional."

He added: "I wanted to win a European championship and a World Cup. I’ll have to wait for the World Cup, but I like this job and I want to organise something important. Aside from this disappointment, the rest goes on"

In the aftermath of the North Macedonia result, Joringho, Ciro Immobile and Lorenzo Insigne all left the Italy camp and it has been reported that the trio are all considering international retirement.

Mancini did hint that it could be time to give younger players a chance in the first team.

"We can look at the potential of young players. The current team, with some addition, could have won the World Cup. There are many things we need to see, surely, we’ll change something from the next games. We must look at the Euros in two years and prepare the team to qualify. This is our job."

For more from Matt O’Connor-Simpson, follow him on Twitter