Mancini 'pleased' for former team-mate Rossi as Italy face Hungary in crunch Nations League clash
Italy boss Roberto Mancini says he is "pleased" to see Hungary thriving under former team-mate Marco Rossi, as the pair face off for a winner-takes-all Nations League clash.
The two sides meet in their final match in Group A3 on Monday, with the Azzurri needing victory in order to leapfrog their hosts into next year's finals in Budapest.
In a group that also included 2014 World Cup winners Germany and Euro 2020 finalists England, Hungary had been written off as easy pickings for relegation from the A tier of the Nations League.
But wins over both nations has catapulted them to top spot, and Mancini said he is delighted to see former Sampdoria team-mate Rossi showcasing his skill, stating that he is under no illusion of the task at hand.
"Playing in Hungary is never easy, but I am pleased that they have done so well in the Nations League, especially as their coach is my former team-mate," he stated.
"I see it as 50-50, because they can also count on a draw to go through. The fact we are here challenging for first place with 90 minutes to go is already pleasing, so we'll give it our all."
Italy will be without Ciro Immobile for the trip despite the striker making the journey to the airport, only to be left behind when the squad flew to Hungary.
Reports that Lazio's president Claudio Loitio ordered him to remain behind owing to a slight thigh issue were not commented on by Mancini, though he admitted the forward was not worth the risk.
"We tried and Immobile did everything right in trying to stay with us, but this morning we decided it wasn’t worth the risk," he added.
"It was disappointing for him and for us. Ciro would happily have stayed, and he did during the first game, but it was too dangerous to risk it.
"He wasn't in awful shape, but hasn't trained with us for three days. We met up when arriving in Milan, but his absence had already been discussed."