National team, Spalletti cancels Mancini |


Between recovered players and new training sessions, Luciano is changing the national team in this way

by our correspondent Fabio Licari


four back A more fluid and symmetrical 4-3-3. Intense training, work on presses. dialogue with the players. Restoring the blues forgotten or discarded by Mancini. It is true that this is the moment of the honeymoon and no one has denounced the slightest pain, while in the case of Mancio lately, at the first malaise, someone presented a medical certificate. In anticipation of Saturday’s debut in Skopje that will say something but not everything (Lippi started with a knockout, albeit in less of a hurry then went on to win the World Cup), here is how Spalletti’s Italy is changing.


It starts again with the back four and the 4-3-3, the reference system with which Mancini won the European Championship and the new coach won the Scudetto. Since North Macedonia, however, the interpretation and tactical development should be different. Mancini prepared, leaving three defenders and unleashing the left flank (Spinazzola) in front, almost an attacker in line with the trident already thickened by Barella: in short, you could see a 3-2-5, that of the doubles player Jorginho-Verratti. A first change can be seen from the tests in Coverciano. When the opponent has the ball, Italy immediately tries a very high, man-powered, aggressive pressing to win the ball, thus drafting a sort of 4-4-2: the more advanced midfielder actually flanks the center forward (Mancini instead configured a less” Press” 4-5-1). In the offensive phase, it is likely that the 4-3-3, like in Napoli, will be more symmetrical. The two underdogs will advance at the same time. One, likely Di Lorenzo, will have two options: switch to midfield or go back and push the right wing forward towards the centre. The other offensive solution could be the midfielder’s intervention in Zielinski, thus naming a 4-2-3-1.


Spalletti was never a fundamentalist of tactics, he didn’t insist on a system when he lacked the right players. In theory, he could also suggest a three-man defense, but with few central defenders and many full-backs that would be a waste. There wasn’t much news in the first few matches because experimenting would be risky considering we play a lot at first go and six points is, yes, the minimum required by the table. Interesting is the return of Locatelli, Zaccagni and Gianluca Mancini, who the former coach may have ruled out also due to a lack of personal harmony and tactics. Also included are Romagnoli and Casale, a close-knit couple in Lazio but never really on Mancio’s mind. There are no big thirties who play little or nothing (Bonucci, Verratti, Jorginho) while the coach demands confirmation from Berardi and Buongiorno. Scamacca should arrive soon if the Gasp cure brings results: his construct of a powerful and technical forward adapts to Spalletti’s ideas. And then the youngsters: Fagioli, Udogie, Ricci, Casadei, Miretti, Kayode and Kean himself, whom he seems to be very fond of, are all on an extensive list to be included in October. Spalletti will not be the national team coordinator as planned for Mancini. Maurizio Viscidi, a long-time friend, is still responsible for looking after the youth teams up to the U21 level.


As Gigi Buffon said on day one, “Spalletti takes my words away. As the head of the delegation, I should intervene from time to time, but there is never anything to add with him. I don’t think I’ll have to say much.” From Buffon, a man who has learned to use both words and boxing gloves, that’s a nice compliment. You know, Spalletti loves to chat at length, even at the first conference time was running out. But what counts is the dialogue with the players. Spalletti does not want intermediaries, another difference from Mancini, who at the end of the cycle asked (and received) the involvement of a psychologist to facilitate dialogue with the Azzurri. Reason why there is no team manager, but Buffon will play the dual role of Oriali and Vialli, especially in contact with the federation because the team will “treat” Spalletti.


The most visible change was in the training methods. Mancini preferred the collegial management of the field work, his assistants always supported him. Not that Domenichini, Baldini and the other employees have disappeared from the scene, quite the opposite. But Spalletti immediately took center stage – or the famous “square” drawn on the pitch, another novelty in terms of ball possession – directing the sessions alone, loudly, whistle and papers in hand. All the day’s work is written on these penciled pages of notes: drills, plans, tactical tests. Not in the pen to keep updating it as he came up with other ideas over time. And if the next session involves the same work, Spalletti rewrites the exercises to memorize them anyway. Also using videos to study the opponents. “He shows us a lot of them,” Locatelli revealed. Tactics, Words and… Videotapes.

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