“What do I ask of 2023? That it brings nothing, but doesn’t take anything away from anyone, speaking of sadness. If anything, give it back to Chiesa and Zaniolo, so that it is their year: after the European Championship I practically didn’t have them, with them and With the whole group we can really start doing well again. And maybe 2023 will bring us one thing, the Nations League in June: it depends on us, the chances are there. And it wouldn’t be bad…”. Robert Mancini she hopes that the new year will be that of the blue rebirth after a World Cup, the second in a row, experienced by Italy as a spectator. “Where could we go? It’s too easy to talk afterwards – comments the coach in an interview with ‘Gazzetta dello Sport’ – I was unbalanced, but before, on Argentina because for Messi, the best of the last twenty years, ending his career without winning a World Cup wouldn’t even have been fair, but Italy, when it exists, is dangerous for anyone: that’s why I’ve always said that we aimed to win, and today I say that we could have played it. Even to try to win it, yes. I hope it hurt the players as much as I did to see him on TV: they too knew they would make a good impression. And they know that it will be necessary to prepare better for the decisive moments of the next qualifiers.”
The coach hopes to have Spinazzola back at the top for March and a Zaniolo to Bellingham: “He has the qualities to play as a midfielder, a winger, a midfielder and in the last few games I’ve also seen progress in my ability to play with the team”. But Mancio is also waiting for Scamacca (“playing continuously, the Premier gives you things that other leagues don’t give you”), Raspadori even if he’s not a regular in Napoli (“not always playing but at high levels, to win, he changed mentality”) and who knows, maybe there could be room for someone seen in last month’s internship.
“Any names? Citizens, who now need to play in Serie A, Faticanti, Fazzini and Oristanio from Volendam: in June he was behind, in six months playing in the Netherlands he improved a lot. But everyone made a good impression on me, even those in Serie B”. As for the Scudetto race, “Napoli have a good chance: eight points ahead and a tested group that has also added two-three strong players”. January Spalletti’s team meets Inter, Juve and Roma: “Let’s say that Napoli with three victories would put a serious stake on the championship. The pursuers are all close to each other and all in time to take back Napoli. But they have to run hard and fast.”