EXCLUSIVE - Pellegrini: "Italy? Mancini and Vialli like our Samp in 1991"

17.07.2021 16:55 of Desk TransferMarketWeb Twitter:    see readings
Source: Interview by Mirko Di Natale
EXCLUSIVE - Pellegrini: "Italy? Mancini and Vialli like our Samp in 1991"
© photo Matteo Gribaudi/Image Sport

As soon as he hears of Roberto Mancini, Luca Pellegrini, his former teammate at Sampdoria, smiles. The Azzurri group that just became European champions is made up of many of his former teammates, from the aforementioned Mancini to Gianluca Vialli and Fausto Salsano. Pellegrini talked with TransfermarketWeb, speaking about Italy’s great success through the eyes of someone who knows them. "A light-hearted Italy like my Sampdoria, Mancini positive and shrewd. The European Cup postponement to one a year later was crucial. Even as a player, Roberto has always had a positive mentality. I remember that when we lost two or three games in the league, Mancini said that we would win all the others. It was easier said than done, in the end results are always what matters."

You experienced him as a teammate, but what kind of coach is Roberto Mancini?

"A coach who always wants to play on the attack, his mentality today mirrors that of him as a footballer. Because Italian football before Sacchi and Zeman had a different attitude, the individual was more important than the group. Those who named Roberto a visionary, or futuristic as I called him, were not mistaken."

How involved did you feel in this success?

"I was thrilled to see my former teammates in this adventure, the way I lived it it seemed a bit light-hearted. We have always been a bit light-hearted, because if you have fun, you do things better and easier. When you have this joy and enthusiasm, your fear of making a mistake is lessened. I have saw some analogies with my Sampdoria."

Also in terms of the path?

"The path was much faster here than with Sampdoria; with the European Championship being played a year later that might also have helped. For these young players, it was essential to have an extra season of learning at the international level."

Were you surprised by the fact that Mancini, aside from injuries, made only one sub of Chiesa for Berardi during the whole tournament?

"Mancini has improved a lot from an experience standpoint; while at Inter he used to make changes constantly, every Sunday. The play and team philosophy is one, in my opinion he did very well. He was very smart by taking advantage of all the subs at his disposal."

Perhaps without Vialli, Evani, Lombardo, Salsano and everyone else, this magical run would not have come about.

"I agree, Mancini made use of all the great names that could very well have been great coaches. In life there are the good ones, the smart ones and the cunning ones, Roberto is very shrewd and sees what others can’t. An example? Zaniolo, because talent recognizes talent."

Was that of bringing Gianluca Vialli, who was already a leader as a footballer, the smartest choice?

"Vialli has always been a leader, his charisma is comparable to Gigi Riva’s. The current player can’t help but be amazed when he hears these legends speak. All were crucial. Most of the tactical plan was developed by Evani and Salsano, beyond the tacticians that watched the matches. When Mancini started out as a coach, he did not have many guys with him. The one who provided this info from the stands was Salsano, who then went down to the locker room."

Mancini wrote an important page in the history of our national team in 2021. Will he do it again in 2022?

"We must always keep our feet on the ground, because humility is always at the base of everything. All that Italy did in this European Championship is important, especially for the opponents who will now look at you in a different light. The national team has been compared to Sacchi's Milan because of the streak of consecutive matches without a loss and to the Juve that won nine championships in a row, their secret was to reset what was done a month earlier. If you have this kind of attitude, you will always have a chance to perform and win."