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Mangia hails Italian strength, Pot defiant

Devis Mangia hailed the culmination of "two years' work" after Italy reached the final with a narrow win against the Netherlands whose coach Cor Pot felt his side were "the much better team".

Mangia hails Italian strength, Pot defiant
Mangia hails Italian strength, Pot defiant ©UEFA.com

Devis Mangia, Italy coach
This is the result of two years' work. In the first three matches we showed great qualities from a style point of view. We suffered in the first half by giving them too much space. We wanted to attack the Netherlands, who clearly changed their usual system of playing, with a midfielder in front of the defence. This strategy put us in a bit trouble. We couldn’t find time to play and press the ball. In the second half there was less pressure, the team’s passing was shorter and we only risked crosses and set pieces.

Spain are playing the best football [at this tournament] and the results show this. They deserve all the compliments they are getting and they'll be the favourites for the final. I don't mind if they are the favourites because I know on 18 June there will be a green pitch, 11 players, a ball in the middle and we will start at 0-0.

The Dutch have a great team with lots of players at good clubs in Europe but we have a great team too. We knew the difficulties we would face. The first half was difficult, we were too slow starting. The Dutch team played in a different way to what we have seen before. [Marco] Van Ginkel played a different role and that was hard for us. In the second half we played a lot better, we passed the ball a lot shorter and got tighter to them.

When we started the tournament I said to the players to take it step by step. Now we only need to take one last step. I want to congratulate the Netherlands because they have a great team. Besides my players I want to thank others around me. The physios, doctors and general staff working around me work in the best way and do their best for the team.

We have played good football during the whole tournament and we showed that today. Even in the first half we showed that we could overcome some difficulties. The best thing about my team is that even if we are doing well in terms of strength and tactics, we also we have the mental strength too.

Cor Pot, Netherlands coach
When you lose a game you're always unlucky. But we didn't deserve it today because we were the much better team. It's very sad for the boys because they were fighting and they played fantastic football in parts of the game. We just had to be sharper in front of goal – that was the only point I had a little problem with.

We made a very positive impression football-wise. Against Germany it was a fantastic game and against Russia, and then we played with a shadow team against Spain. Today it was a good game and we were the much better team. Only one team deserved to win and that was us.

We had problems in the second half but we still dominated. Even though we did not dominate as much as we did in the first half, we were still much the better team. Italy defended and looked for counterattacks, which can be dangerous. We played our way and Italy played to try and press us but they were unsuccessful and went back to their old style. 

It's very hard to take when you are the better team. I spoke to the players after the game and I congratulated on the football they played and their mentality but it's not always the team who deserves to win that does win.

The players have to move on with their careers after the U21s. Hopefully, they can go on to the senior team and the other players who don't reach that level can make good progress. They have learned a lot here for their future careers. It was a good lesson to spend three weeks together.

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