Mancini says Italy must 'reflect' after World Cup heartbreak
Roberto Mancini says Italy must "take some time to reflect" and "work towards the future" after they failed to qualify for a second consecutive World Cup.
The Azzurri will not feature in the tournament in Qatar this year after suffering a sensational 1-0 play-off defeat to North Macedonia on Thursday.
Italy won Euro 2020 by beating England on penalties in the final at Wembley last July, but suffered heartbreak in Palermo this week.
Mancini's future has been called into question in certain quarters, but the head coach says it is important to look at where his side felt short and put the agony behind them.
He posted on Instagram: "Sometimes football can be a ruthless metaphor for life.
"Last summer we were on the top of Europe after having completed one of the most beautiful feats in the history of the national team. A few hours ago we woke up in one of the most dramatic points.
"We have gone from total joy to frustrating disappointment.
"It is really hard to accept, but also accepting the defeats in life is part of a healthy path of human and sporting growth.
"Let's take some time to reflect and understand clearly. The only right move now is to raise your head and work towards the future."