Bonucci warns Italy not to lose focus against Poland
Group leaders Portugal have won both of their Nations League matches so far.
Defender Leonardo Bonucci has warned his Italy team-mates not to make life complicated for themselves by failing to get the better of Poland in their Nations League clash.
The Azzurri were held to a 1-1 draw by Ukraine in a friendly at the Stadio Luigi Ferraris on Wednesday night, a match which saw tributes paid to the victims of the Ponte Morandi collapse in Genoa.
Italy boss Roberto Mancini admitted his team must be more clinical if they are to turn largely positive performances into victories, his side now winless in the last five home matches.
The progress of Mancini’s squad will again come under the spotlight against the Poles in Chorzow.
With Portugal having won both of their League A Group Three matches so far – including an away victory in Poland last week – there is little margin for error from either nation in their bid to avoid relegation.
Juventus centre-back Bonucci wants everyone to stay focused on the final outcome.
“Poland will be a difficult match, but one that we have to win. This is not a case of do or die, but there is not much time left,” the Italian said at a press conference.
“Being relegated in the Nations League will complicate our future plans, like Euro 2020 and the next World Cup.”
Bonucci, though, saw signs of promise against Ukraine, when on another night the Azzurri would have wrapped up a comfortable victory given the amount of chances created.
“The goals weren’t there for us, but we made steps forward in Genoa,” the Juve defender said.
“I like winning, it eats at me when I lose or draw, so everyone is aware of my state of mind.
“However, against Ukraine I saw an active, flashy Italy who were only missing goals, which is not an aspect to undervalue, but I remain confident for the future.”
Poland are in need of a response themselves following Thursday night’s 3-2 defeat by Portugal at the Silesian Stadium.
Striker Robert Lewandowski made his 100th international appearance, and is hoping the squad can regroup as they look to progress under new coach Jerzy Brzeczek.
“There were some positive aspects to our game. Let’s not forget we played in a different system and it takes time to get used to it,” the Bayern Munich forward told broadcaster Telewizja Polska.
“I hope against Italy on Sunday we will play much better.”
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