U21: Nicolato respects Ireland

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Italy U21 Coach Paolo Nicolato expects a tough test against group leaders the Republic of Ireland, but “we want attacking football and possession.”

The Azzurrini visit Dublin on Thursday at 20.05 UK time and due to a complex schedule, this is only their second game in Group 1, the qualifiers for the 2021 European Under-21 Championship.

Ireland have won all three of their matches so far and lead the group, followed by Iceland with six points from two and Italy on three points.

“Tradition doesn’t win you games,” warned Nicolato in a Press conference.

“These are the matches, against opponents who have been working together since March and are at a more advanced stage in their preparation, that tell us how we’re doing in terms of character and tactics.

“We will stick with our focus on attacking football, maintaining possession and the initiative throughout the game.

“Ireland don’t play a typically British style of football, as they have good technique and organisation, they score goals fairly easily. You can see how the levels of football have changed in recent years.”

Italy have Sandro Tonali and Luca Pellegrini available again, after they were temporarily bumped up to the senior squad, with Moise Kean and Patrick Cutrone currently plying their trade in the Premier League.

“We want to see how players adapt to different roles. In theory, Moise can play as a winger, but only in some games and he knows where he has to improve. At the moment, he does well attacking as a centre-forward, but needs to work on helping out in defence.”

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