De Zerbi: ‘Berardi’s penalty made me emotional’

Former Sassuolo coach Roberto De Zerbi said it was ‘emotional’ to watch his former attacker Domenico Berardi’s penalty against England on Sunday.

The former Neroverdi coach has moved to Ukraine to take over Shakhtar Donetsk ahead of 2021-22 and De Zerbi praised Roberto Mancini’s ‘wonderful’ Azzurri after the success against England at the Euros.

“It was a wonderful Italy that made everyone happy,” De Zerbi told TopCalcio 24. “Not only for the result, but also for how they won.

“Being Italian at a football level has always been a pride because, with our strengths and weaknesses, we have always been protagonists.

“Then we had less happy moments, but a win like this after the failure to qualify for the World Cup was needed. It’s good for everyone.”

De Zerbi gave colleague and Italy CT Mancini ‘the credit’ for the successful Nazionale.

“The truth is that Mancini was very good,” De Zerbi said. “Ahead of the European Championship, I said that, regardless of the result, it was a pleasure watching the national team play.

“Thanks to Mancini, we saw a different mentality. The credit is his alone.”

His former players Manuel Locatelli and Domenico Berardi made the squad, but De Zerbi said the two Sassuolo stars would have been protagonists for Italy without him as a coach too.

“They didn’t need me as a coach. They were strong even before. By pushing them maybe, they became mentally stronger,” he continued.

“At Berardi’s penalty, I admit I was emotional, because I know how sensitive he is. The same goes for the mistake of Locatelli, it was as if I had committed it. All this without forgetting [Giacomo] Raspadori and [Francesco] Caputo, who I thought about yesterday, as he missed the European Championship due to an injury.”