Mancini demands increased focus and ruthlessness from Italy

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Roberto Mancini expects to see more focus and ruthlessness from Italy when they face Switzerland after being held to a 1-1 draw by Bulgaria in World Cup qualifying on Thursday.

In their first match on home soil since winning Euro 2020, Italy went in front through a fine finish from Federico Chiesa but were pegged back before half-time when a swift counter-attack ended with Atanas Iliev turning home.

Georgi Georgiev did well to deny Chiesa and Ciro Immobile as the Azzurri searched for a winner in the second half, the Bulgaria goalkeeper finishing the game at Stadio Artemio Franchi with seven saves.

Despite failing to secure all three points, Italy made it 35 games unbeaten to equal the European record set by Spain.

Avoiding defeat to Switzerland in Basel on Sunday would see them match the world record for an undefeated run by a men’s international team set by Brazil between 1993 and 1996.

Mancini acknowledged his team may be fatigued by their push to defeat to Bulgaria but is demanding a more clinical display at the weekend.

“Now the most important thing is to recover our strength for Sunday, because we attacked a lot in the closing stages and became a bit disorganised,” said Mancini.

“But we created so many opportunities. This is football. It happened today and it could happen at other times. When a team attacks, they are bound to suffer something, but the goal we conceded wasn’t great.

“But okay, we will be more focused and mean in Basel.

“It will be a different game, also because Switzerland are a team that play. That puts you in difficulty but it also lets you play. We will have to play a great match and that’s what we’ll do.

“Today, after the first goal we had to kill off the game. We will have to take to the pitch with the attitude of the second half.

“We need to be more clinical, but the guys did well and what they had to do. We are pleased, but we would have preferred to reach 35 [games unbeaten] with a win.”

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