Hardly anyone would have been courageous enough to put money on Italy for them to reach Euro Round of 8 and that too by surpassing Spain.
In fact in the views of the pundits, Italy never had been to a big competition with such an average squad.
You probably could not totally disagree to it even as an Italy supporter to be honest because of the lack of the impact players that the squad actually had.
There was no extraordinary potential in the offensive line or at the centre of the pitch (barring Daniele De Rossi who is in his thirties).
Eder, maybe a few would argue, is not a bad player, but, is he breath-taking or even the other two or three strikers? No.
With enormous experience lying in the defence and the goal, those two departments were in safe hands yes, but, the games are not won solely with the backline solidity, are they?
However, what Italy had got to make up for all the lacking was the calmness of the players, and the shrewdness of the head coach.
Generally, teams play to their strengths, but, Italy played to its weakness if you can say so.
In spite of not being powerful enough attackingly, they still chose to invade the opponents rather than just be in their own half making the clearances and hoping to be lucky.
Spain would not have foreseen such approach from Italy at all. It was all attacking play from the Blues catching the opposition unprepared for that.
You can’t help imagining what this Italian team could have done with a highly skilled striker upfront and that’s something the new management can look at. Maybe having Balotelli back is the solution. One last chance, who knows?
Italian player, Vito Mannone, currently with English Premier League side Sunderland is set to get his contract extended at the club, according to latest reports.
The agent of the player, Roberto de Fanti, told reporters that the club has opened discussions regarding the future of Mannone.
The 28-year old player will enter the final year of his current deal with the club, and the club says it would extend the contract. Mannone reestablished himself as the club’s first choice goalkeeper back from Costel Pantilimon last season. He was brilliant as he helped keep the dream of top flight football alive.
De Fanti, who was the director of football at the Stadium of Light for seven months in 2013, and now Mannone’s agent said:
“He has a year left on his contract and he would be happy to stay. We hope to find a solution, otherwise we will evaluate. Today, however, his future, I see it in England.”
De Fanti made the announcement in Italy at an interview with Tutto Mercato. He also confirmed that Fabio Borini will also remain at the club. De Fanti also represents Borini who joined from Liverpool on a permanent deal in the last campaign. There were reports that the player could move to another club after his below par performance, after his deal was finally made permanent. He was better in the previous two seasons where he played on loan from Anfield, though he was still a regular, his performance didn’t meet previous levels.
There were speculations that both player could return to the Serie A but the in the interview, De Fanti killed such as he said both Italians were pleased to continue in the Premier League. He claimed both players saw Italy as home but would continue playing in “the best league.”
By the virtue of a late penalty which was awarded to them in the stoppage time, the Black Cats claimed a point at the Britannia Stadium and saved themselves from a potentially relegation blow.
But, the manager Sam Allardyce was not thankful to the referee and instead lashed out at him for some of the incorrect calls earlier which had got Sunderland at a point of losing the game.
With two mightier teams lined up next, it’s this Stoke visit which Sunderland had to make the most of and Allardyce believes three points could have come easy if the officiating had been done correctly.
According to Allardyce, the Potters should not have had the lead in the first place because the goal which got them up, it was the result of a foul which wasn’t picked by the gentlemen involved in the officiating of the game.
For Allardyce, it was the linesman who was more at fault on that occasion because the angle from which he was watching the action, it was a far superior angle in comparison to the referee and thus, it was his duty to pick it up and convey it to the referee to make sure the decision is correct.
The Black Cats’ boss also rued not having the penalty at the half an hour mark when Geoff Cameron used the hand to make contact with the ball.
It was more frustrating for Allardyce because something like that was overlooked by the referee the previous week too during the goalless draw against the Gunners at the Stadium of Light.
This draw, nevertheless, has kept Sunderland above the red area, but, it’s the Chelsea game, on 7th of May, which would go a long way in deciding their fate.
Throughout this entire Premier League season, Sunderland has been floating around the bottom spots of the English league and is at risk of being relegated to the English Championship League.
Even though Sunderland are struggling just to survive in the top tier English league, Sunderland actually has a strong goalkeeping department with Vito Mannone being their star player in this position and who was named as the best player of Sunderland during the 2013-14 season on the Yacht Charter Greece website. Jordan Pickford is another top class performer who serves as a shot-stopper and has turned into a threat of becoming the next main goal-keeper of the club.
Jordan Pickford is a 21 year old English goal-keeper who is currently playing for England’s U-21.
Vito Mannone is well aware of the fact that Pickford has what it takes to become the new star shot-stopper of Sunderland but even with the arrival of this young prospect, Mannone is not really concerned about the possibility of being dropped, the Italian player just wants to focus on keeping Sunderland alive in the Premier League and he is seeing Pickford as something that can motivate him on getting even better.
“It’s good to make the goalkeeper work. At any club I’ve been, there have been capable keepers around me. But I’m focused on me, really. Jordan has got a big future, but I want to help the team and club stay in the Premier League.’’ Sunderland’s Vito Mannone said as he stated what his objectives are for this season.
One of the things that has helped Vito Mannone in regaining his confidence and form was the departure of Costel Pantilimon who joined Watford on January 19 of 2016 and this has allowed Mannone on snatching the goalkeeping position of Sunderland as well as going on to become the undisputed shot-stopper of the Premier League outfit.
As each season goes on Vito Mannone has been seeing fewer playing time in the main team of Sunderland which is a fairly disappointing thing to see for a player who was named as the Official Player of the Year back in his debut season which kicked off on July of 2013.
Vito Mannone was the star of Sunderland a few years ago with amazing saves and quick reflexes which attracted the attention of major clubs but things have taken a turn for the worse as the Italian shot-stopper is now struggling trying to get consistent playing time in the Premier League outfit which is currently located in the bottom spots of the English League.
For the majority of the season Vito Mannone has had to settle with a place on the sidelines of Sunderland as he watched Costel Pantillimon take center stage and now his future in the club is starting to appear even more in doubt after Sunderland recalled the 21 year old shot-stopper Jordan Pickford.
In 20 Premier League matches, Sunderland has conceded 39 goals which is more than any other club and it seems that as a way to solve this issue, they have re-called Jordan Pickford and ended his loan deal with Preston North End.
The return of Jordan Pickford will put even more pressure and bring more competition to the goal-keeper position of Sunderland and makes things harder for Vito Mannone to snatch a consistent starting role in the relegation threatened club which is starting to look for options in the transfer market.
Sam Allardyce is the coach of Sunderland and he has recently been giving Vito Mannone a few starting roles in their latest games. The Italian goal-keeper played the entirety of Sunderland’s Premier League matches against: Manchester City, Liverpool and Manchester City.
Vito Mannone now can’t afford to make any slip-ups as there are other players who are waiting in the sidelines.
Sam Allardyce reckons finishing comes naturally to a player and it’s not something which can be coached.
On plenty of occasions in the recent games, the Sunderland players have failed to take advantage of scoring opportunities because of poor finishing.
According to Allardyce, not much can be done regarding it.
Speaking after losing to Arsenal, Allardyce said, “People who claim that they teach their players how to finish, they tell lie because in my opinion, it’s totally natural and it’s an ability which a player possesses right from his starting days.”
“You can be a frequent scorer, but, it does not mean you would necessarily be a finisher. In the squad that I have got here at Sunderland, I believe it’s only Defoe who would come in the category of finishers. The rest of the players, they are pretty good, they can and do find the net on a consistent basis, but, I don’t see them as finishers.”
When asked whether it would have made a difference had Defoe played the game, the 61-year old said, “Yes, I would like to believe so. A couple of those would probably have been converted into goals. Who knows?”
“But, we’ve some other class players as well in our ranks. Fletcher has been in good form and so has been Duncan. With these two out there on pitch, we should have done better.”
“The only goal that came for us, it was a self goal by the opposition which means that all the opportunities we made for ourselves went begging and those weren’t tough ones. You would back yourself to capitalize in those situations most of the time. It is hugely frustrating to lose by so much in spite of having so many opportunities.”
Jose Mourinho is of the opinion that former midfielder Kevin De Bruyne was not mentally fit enough to play for Chelsea were competition for places is intense.
It is speculated that the winger will be joining Manchester City for around £ 50 million after having become a sensational hit at Wolfsburg. He had moved to the German club only around 12 months ago, but immediately contributed over 20 assists in his first full season back in German football. This impressive campaign appears to have improved his transfer value from £ 18 million – the money paid by Wolfsburg to Chelsea – to £ 50 million.
Mourinho says that he has no regrets about sellingDe Bruyne for what is now seen as a very low transfer fee since he felt that the clubwas unable to satisfy the requirements of the Belgian international. The Portuguese manager has so far been silent over the reason to sellDe Bruyne despite the player having featured only in a handful of games for the club. The Belgian had been brought to Chelsea from Genk for £ 7 million. Back then, it was seen as a good piece of business by Chelsea to sell him for £ 18 million.
"I am happy for him, because he is a good kid. I wanted to keep him. But he couldn't handle fighting for his place in such a competitive squad.He told me it was not in his personality to be competing for a position in the team. He needed a team where he knows he can play every game. He told me he was not happy. He was not training very well. I accept that if this his mentality and that if it is his choice to go, it is better for Chelsea to make a good deal,” said Mourinho.
Vito Mannone could be set for a move away from the Stadium of Light after reports suggest that Sunderland are ready to listen to offers for the former Arsenal goalkeeper.
Mannone played second fiddle to Costel Pantilimon for much of the last season. This was rather surprising considering thatMannone was named as the club’s Player of the Year just 12 months prior to the arrival of Pantilimon. The player still has two years left on his contract and it is believed that the club see this is an ideal opportunity to cash in on the player.
Pantilimon came as the backup for the Italian goalkeeper after having just been released by champions Manchester City. Initially, he found opportunities at the Stadium of Light limited for his liking. His major breakthrough came during the early part of the campaign when Sunderland were on a rotten run of form that saw them suffer an 8-0 thrashing at the hands of Southampton. This coupled with several other high-profile defeats led to Mannone being dropped from the team. Since then, Pantilimon has kept his place in the starting line-up without any concern. Sunderland are planning to replace Mannone without stepping into the transfer market.
They are believed to have zeroed in on Jordan Pickford, who is one of the stars in the club’s youth academy, as the candidate to replace the 27-year-old. After managing to convince Dick Advocaat for a second season at Sunderland, the club were believed to be looking at signing former England star Robert Green from QPR. Green could be available on a cheap after his QPR team were relegated into the Championship with massive financial difficulties. Jordan has spent the last few seasons on loan at clubs like Carlisle United and Bradford but he will now be part of the first-team.
Vito Mannone is a 27 year old shot-stopper who has managed to make 9 appearances in this season for Sunderland but rumors are linking the Italian player with a move away from the Premier League club.
The goal-keeper who is preferred on being featured under the sticks is CostelPantilimon which has forced Vito Mannone to play only for certain matches but mostly just as a back-up player more than anything else.
Mannone is believed to be interested in being transferred to a club where he can turn into a regular starter which doesn’t seem to be happening in Sunderland anytime soon.
During the 2013-14 season, Mannone enjoyed being the first choice goal-keeper of Sunderland and he was even voted as the Player of the Year due to his consistently high level performances but things have fallen apart for the Italian as he was dropped and replaced by Pantilimon who was signed by Sunderland on June of 2014.
The Italian shot-stopper has already demonstrated and proved that he has what it takes to compete at a very high level in the Premier League but since the arrival of Pantilimon, it has been the Romanian footballer who has taken center stage.
Dick Advocaat is experiencing a similar thing to Jose Mourinho. Advocaat has 2 superb goal-keepers at this disposal but both players want to get consistent playing time in the pitch and not just stay on the sidelines and Jose Mourinho is living an almost identical thing at Chelsea as ThibautCourtois has forced PetrCech to stay on the bench even though Cech is still considered to be one of the finest players in Europe.
Fans of Sunderland are hoping that Vito Mannone would stay in the club but the player is hungry for playing time and unless he gets a more important role at the squad, it’s highly likely that Mannone will be exiting Sunderland in the summer.
Sunderland are set to leave manager Gus Poyet from his duties after witnessing the team crumbled to yet another horrible defeat in the Premier League.
A 4-0 loss against Aston Villa means that the club are just one point above the relegation zone with nine matches remaining in the season. Interestingly, Sunderland brought inPoyet to keep the club in the division last season. Despite the odds being heavily stacked against him,Poyet managed to keep Sunderland in the Premier League. It looks like he may not be present at the club to see out the campaign.
The club has not managed a league victory only in the last few weeks, but the situation has become precarious because of the teams below them picking up points of late. The likes of Aston Villa and Hull City have moved clear of the relegation zone while Burnley have closed the gap with a shock 1-0 win over Manchester City. To add insult to injury, Sunderland started with only 10 players after Sebastian Larsson failed to appear after the second half break. He did so only after three minutes had passed and the professionalism of the players has been questioned.
Opposition manager Tim Sherwood was confident that Poyet would bounce back from this disappointing defeat.“I’m extremely disappointed. I was not expecting this to happen.I don’t want to go into details, I have to analyse things very carefully. I have no explanation for what happened in the first half. If I was a fan, I would have done the same. They were quite right. It was not acceptable. Seb is one of the best professionals we have. He had a massive cut in his leg and they couldn’t stitch it quickly enough. We asked the referee to delay the restart but we waited for Seb," said Poyet.