Paolo Nicolato singled out Moise Kean for praise after the “spirited” Everton striker scored twice in Italy Under-21’s 6-0 thrashing of Armenia on Tuesday.
The European Under-21 Championship qualifier was due to kick off at 17:30 GMT in the Sicilian city of Catania, but adverse conditions meant the match could not get going until 20:00.
Nevertheless, it was worth the wait as the Azzurrini managed to almost emulate the seniors’ 9-1 demolition of Armenia last night.
Kean has played just four times for Everton this season, but the former Juventus attacker capped off a dominant display with two goals.
Italy went on to convert four of their other 26 attempts through Andrea Pinamonti, Niccolo Zanellato, Gianluca Scamacca and Davide Bettella.
The occasion was made more special by a female referee – Stephanie Frappart of France – officiating an Italy men’s fixture for the first time ever.
“I’m happy with the goals we scored,” Nicolato told Rai Sport.
“I saw a team that managed to play here on this field, so they can do well on any surface.
“The boys have desire, always trying to express themselves in the best way. They did well, it wasn’t easy.
“We’re destined to improve further. Every step must be a step forward and tonight’s step was one. We have flaws and strengths.
“I liked Kean’s spirit. I said it already before the game that he’s perfect with me. Our midfield is what makes us play well.
“The players are playing well, with desire, even those with less experience, but everything’s still open in group. There’s still a long way to go.
“We’re gaining positive results and feelings.”
Although Republic of Ireland remain top of Group 1 after they beat Sweden 4-1, La Nazionale have two games in hand and remain unbeaten after five clean sheets.
Italy U21 6-0 Armenia U21
Kean 15, 41, Pinamonti 25, Zanellato 53, Scamacca 57, Bettella 66
Italy U21: Carnesecchi; Adjapong, Del Prato, Ranieri (Bettella 63), Sala (Tripaldelli 56); Zanellato (Maistro 63), Carraro, Locatelli (Maggiore 83); Kean, Pinamonti (Scamacca 56), Cutrone
Armenia U21: Aslanyan; Mkrtchyan, Khachumyan, Danielyan, Grigoryan; Geghamyan; Movsesyan, Bichakhchyan, Khamoyan, Melkonyan; Hovhannisyan
Referee: Frappart (FRA)
Image credit @azzurri via Twitter
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