Donnarumma praises Mancini after Poland win

Getty Images

After Italy held firm and pipped Poland 1-0 with a goal in the 92nd minute. It’s their steadfastness in pursuing that winner that has Gianluigi Donnarumma impressed.

But that steadfastness didn’t just appear out of thin air. It’s been instilled by Mancini, the Italian goalkeeper said.

[ RECAP: Italy beats Poland at the death ]

“The atmosphere is calm: we needed this victory, we deserved it and it gives us even more strength to move forward with calmness,” Donnarumma said to Rai Sport after the match. “Even if it’s difficult not to, we try not to think about anything other than ourselves. We needed this win to convince ourselves that we’re a great group. The Coach makes us give our best in every training session. We have to listen to him and go on like this.”

Italy controlled the match, holding 70% of possession and popping off 18 shots to Poland’s six. Jorginho hit the post in the very first minute, while Lorenzo Insigne rattled the woodwork on the half-hour mark. Wojciech Szczesny made a few fine saves as well that threatened to frustrate Italy. They remained opportunistic, and found the winner as Cristiano Biraghi tapped in a corner at the far post.

“Tonight we faced a great Szczesny and I congratulate him,” Donnarumma said. “We controlled the game for almost its entirety and it wasn’t easy. We have to continue like this and go one game at a time.”

Mancini took over Italy in May, six months after they were eliminated from World Cup contention. The win over Poland is the first since beating Saudi Arabia in late May. However, the team has lost just once in that span as well, falling 1-0 to Portugal earlier last month.