Italy boss Roberto Mancini has asked fans to be patient with him and the national side while he seeks to reverse their recent poor fortunes, stressing that he cannot improve them like a wizard.
The Azzurri ended a five-match winless streak on Sunday with a last-gasp 1-0 triumph away to Poland in the UEFA Nations League to keep their distant hopes of a spot in next year’s finals alive.
Cristiano Biraghi snatched the winner late on after Italy looked like they would be frustrated, having dominated their lacklustre hosts throughout.
Mancini was impressed with his team’s performance throughout and was adamant that they were fully deserving of the three points they picked up, though he still felt the need to temper the expectations of supporters following their first away win since a 1-0 victory against Albania over a year ago.
“We dominated,” the 53-year-old told Rai Sport. “We should have scored earlier and it wouldn’t have been fair if the match had finished 0-0.
“All the boys gave it their best. We know it’ll take time, but this win is an excellent one. We can improve a lot, but we must have patience.
“This is football. You suddenly get a goal right at the end, a goal you deserved, but the game could have also ended scoreless, as it was for some time.
“A new era has already started, but there is no such thing as wizards.”
Defeat for Poland condemned them to relegation from League A Group 3 in the Nations League while Portugal remain at the top of the table two points clear of Italy with a game in hand.
Mancini’s side will host the European champions next month in the final international break of the year, before they close out 2018 with a friendly against the USA, knowing that their fate will be out of their own hands.