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Roberto Mancini demands better despite Italy’s big win

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Italy manager Roberto Mancini reckons his players “should’ve pushed harder” for a fourth goal despite defeating Greece 3-0 in a Euro 2020 qualifier.

Italy were unquestionably the deserving winners in Athens on Saturday night to move three points clear at the top of Group J. The victory came following three 10-minute goals in the first-half from Nicolo Barella, Lorenzo Insigne and Leonardo Bonucci.

The Azzurri have now won all three of their qualifications matches, with 11 goals scored and not a single one conceded.

However, it turned out Mancini wasn’t exactly in a celebratory mood over Italy’s success after giving a rather underwhelming assessment of their recent performance.

“I don’t think it was our best performance,” he told Rai Sport.

“The important thing is that we continued to improve, we did well from the first minute and put the match on the right track.

“The most important aspect now is: why didn’t we score a fourth goal in the second half? We should’ve pushed harder, but we sat back and should’ve converted some of the other chances.

“We risked conceding, as Greece nearly hurt us on the counter a couple of times.

“I said we’re ahead of schedule, but still have a lot of work to do. The Nations League didn’t go that badly either, as we were in the running until the last game.”

Napoli star Insigne was on target for Italy on Saturday for the first time since a 1-1 friendly draw against England in March 2018. He’s now scored five times in 31 appearances at international level.

“I needed a goal, as scoring with this jersey is special,” said the Italy winger.

“Above all, we needed the three points and now we have to recover our energy, as there is another battle on Tuesday.

“I think winning that game can be a big step forward towards the Euros, but it’ll be intense, and they need points. If we play the way we did [against Greece], we’ll achieve our aim.

“It’s not just me, as many other players are all working together with the right intensity both in a match situation and in training. The coach is drilling that mentality into us.

“I’m happy with the goal, but we’re a good group here and if we are to go far, we need everyone.”

Italy will next play host to Bosnia-Herzegovina on Tuesday at Juventus’ Allianz Stadium in Turin.

ATHENS, GREECE – JUNE 08: Lorenzo Insigne of Italy celebrate after scoring the goal during the UEFA Euro 2020 Qualifier between Greece and Italy on June 8, 2019 in Athens, Greece. (Photo by Claudio Villa/Getty Images)