Self-isolating Mancini conducted Italy´s triumph over Estonia, reveals stand-in Evani

Alberigo Evani says Roberto Mancini was in constant contact with the Italian bench during the Azzurri’s routine 4-0 friendly win over Estonia on Wednesday.

Head coach Mancini is self-isolating at home after testing positive for COVID-19, with his assistant Evani stepping up to take charge of the clash at Stadio Artemio Franchi. 

Federico Bernardeschi and Riccardo Orsolini added to Vincenzo Grifo’s brace – the Freiburg forward’s first international goals – as Italy stretched their unbeaten run to 20 games with ease.

Mancini was directing operations via Gianluca Vialli on the Italy bench, according to Evani, who believes Italy should have beaten their opponents by even more.

“Luca on the bench did what I usually do with Roberto, so there was this connection between them and it went well,” he told RAI Sport. 

“To be honest, we could’ve done even better, as these lads could’ve pressed better and raised the tempo, but we can’t ask for too much.

Undefeated in  games 

 #ITAEST  4-0#VivoAzzurro

— Italy (@azzurri) November 11, 2020

“It’s what we expected from our lads. We knew this was a game where we had everything to lose and couldn’t make mistakes.

“We saw some good things and the human quality within this group is extraordinary. It’s a good sign for Italian football and I am doubly satisfied considering I worked with many of these lads in the Under-20s.”

Grifo was the star of the show for the hosts, opening his account for his country with a sumptuous half-volley from 25 yards before adding a second from the penalty spot 15 minutes from time. 

He also made one key pass and won five of his six duels on what was his fourth appearance for Italy.

The 27-year-old has spent his entire professional career in Germany after being born there to Italian parents, but he says he only ever considered representing the Azzurri. 

“I am really happy just to be here, so I’m even happier with the goals,” he said.

“Everyone knows I never even thought about playing for anyone other than Italy. I was born and raised in Germany, but I am 100 per cent Italian.

“I want to dedicate these goals to my parents. You have to believe in yourself, try to give your best at club level and whenever you are called upon and then hope the coach picks you.

“We’ve got a lot of quality in this squad, with players from Juventus, Paris Saint-Germain and all over the place. I am at Freiburg and have a lot to learn. I’m very happy to be here.”

Italy face Nations League clashes against Poland and Bosnia-Herzegovina on Sunday and Wednesday respectively.

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