Mancini: ‘Italy must battle in Switzerland’

Roberto Mancini again urges Italy to ‘battle’ for every result, insists Ciro Immobile contributes more than just goals and confirms some changes tonight against Switzerland.

The World Cup qualifier kicks off tonight at 19.45 UK time (18.45 GMT) at St. Jakob-Park in Basel.

This is the side that the Azzurri beat 3-0 at UEFA EURO 2020 over the summer at the Stadio Olimpico in Rome.

“They are missing three or four important players, but the games played here in Switzerland are always difficult,” the coach told RAI Sport.

“We’ve never had an easy match here, so it is up to us to make this as simple as possible for ourselves.”

Mancini warned this week that the Azzurri must be ready to move on and stop thinking about the EURO 2020 triumph.

“What we did is there for all to see, nobody can ever take it away from us, we are happy to have our place in history. However, we need to look forward, set new objectives and realise every game is going to be more and more difficult from now on. We have to play well and also battle hard.”

He confirmed Giovanni Di Lorenzo and Giorgio Chiellini will be in the starting XI tonight, replacing Alessandro Florenzi and Francesco Acerbi after Thursday’s 1-1 draw with Bulgaria, but gave this answer when asked what he’d like to see change from that performance.

“Nothing. I hope the team plays the same way as in Florence, especially in the second half, because if we create that many chances again, we’re bound to score more of them. A draw can happen, it shouldn’t change our approach.”

Lazio striker Immobile seems unable to replicate his club form at international level, but Mancini stands by his centre-forward.

“I am defending all the players who gave everything for the Nazionale. Obviously, people expect goals from strikers, but if he plays for the team and the team then gets its objective, that is the same thing in my eyes.

“He just has to relax and not try to always do more than is necessary, especially after what we achieved this summer.

“Nicolò Zaniolo is with us tonight, so he has a chance of playing, whereas Moise Kean hasn’t played a minute of football yet this season.”