Mancini brushes off talk of Italy job

Roberto Mancini says he is not considering managing the Italian national team, as his name is thrown in the ring to replace Giampiero Ventura.

Carlo Ancelotti, recently sacked by FC Bayern Munchen, is the favourite to take the helm after Ventura failed to secure qualification for next year’s World Cup.

“Like many of my fellow countrymen, I dreamed of seeing Italy at the World Cup in Russia,” Mancini told Match TV. “Seeing them crash out gave me tremendous sadness.

“I was born after 1958, the last time our team failed to qualify for the World Cup, so I didn’t know what it meant to not be there. Now I can admit it feels surreal and extremely sad.

“I am not surprised my name has been mentioned on the list, seeing as they also discussed colleagues with experience who won in various different countries.

“But I am happy at Zenit and in St Petersburg, so I am not thinking about the Nazionale. My objective is to win the Russian league title.”

The Azzurri were pipped to a place at Russia 2018 by Sweden, who defeated them 1-0 in the two-legged play-offer to qualify at the expense of the four-time world champions.

“I thought the Nazionale was very unlucky,” Mancini added. “Especially in the second leg when they wasted a lot of chances, but football is a very strange sport.

“There are days when it’s all going against you and you can’t do anything about it. This is why we won’t see Italy in Russia next summer.

“In all national teams, there has to be a generational shift at some point, and Italy are obviously at that moment, but I think they will soon get back to being leaders in the football world because there are a lot of talented youngsters coming through.”