By 90Min
March 24, 2019

Italy manager Roberto Mancini has backed striker Ciro Immobile and praised full debutant Moise Kean following the Azzurri's 2-0 win against Finland on Saturday night. 

The Italians sit joint top of their Euro 2020 qualifying group with Greece after both sides enjoyed two-goal wins in the first match of the qualifying campaign. Nicolo Barella and Moise Kean both got on the scoresheet for Italy as they had to fight through an organised Finish defence throughout the whole match. 

Mancini spoke to Rai Sport via Football Italia after the match, stating: “It wasn’t easy, as Finland clammed up straight away with five defenders, so it was difficult to break them down. We made a few mistakes early on, but did far better in the second half and created many more scoring opportunities.

“We have a lot of work to do, but it’s natural after five months that we’d make a few mistakes. We need to keep working, aware that every match is difficult.”

The manager had high praise for Kean following his full debut for the squad, in which the Juventus youngster scored his first goal for the national team. 

“Kean has quality, enormous potential and it all depends on him. It’s not difficult to see talent in Kean and Nicolò Zaniolo, so it’s not a risk to pick them."

Valerio Pennicino/GettyImages

Immobile did not score in the match, taking his goalless drought to ten straight matches in international competition, but Mancini came to the defence of the striker by saying: “When a striker seeks the goal, it doesn’t arrive, so it’ll happen. It wasn’t easy for Immobile, as he always five or six players surrounding him. If anything, we should’ve spread the play better to create spaces." 


Mancini will hope Immobile can bring his Serie A form to the next match for Italy and build off his 17 goals in all competitions for Lazio this season. 

Claudio Villa/GettyImages

Gli Azzurri continue their qualifying campaign when they host Liechtenstein on Tuesday in Parma and will look to build off their initial win and stay top of Group J. 

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