‘I never knew Stoke were that good’: Gareth Bale hits back at Roberto Mancini after Italy boss compared Wales to the Championship side because they are ‘physical’
- Italy are looking to make it three wins out of three in their group against Wales
- Former Manchester City boss Roberto Mancini compared Wales to Stoke
- Gareth Bale has dismissed the claim as Wales aim to provide an upset
- Wales could finish the top of their group if they are able to beat the Azzurri
Wales captain Gareth Bale has dismissed Italy manager Roberto Mancini’s comments likening the team to English club Stoke City and said they were ready to challenge them in Sunday’s European Championship meeting in Rome.
Mancini, who spent three and a half years as Manchester City manager between 2009 and 2013, is fully aware of the physical demands of a trip to Stoke who were a top-flight team then.
Ahead of Sunday’s game, the Italian said Stoke had a very tough style of play and he expected a similar test from Wales, adding Bale’s side also possessed the technical skills to trouble his team.
Roberto Mancini has compared Wales to Stoke ahead of their final group game on Sunday
Gareth Bale has laughed off the claims from the Italy manager as Wales look to cause an upset
Asked for his reaction to Mancini’s comments, Bale told a news conference: ‘I never knew Stoke were that good.’
Wales interim manager Robert Page said that he was not bothered by the comparison.
‘We’re fully focused on what we can do and how we can hurt teams. As I’ve said, I couldn’t be more proud of that (squad of) 26 and I’ll back them every day of the week.’
Former Man City boss Mancini said Wales like Stoke are very physical and a ‘tough nut to crack’
Italy are through to the last 16 after two wins from as many games, while Wales are also unbeaten in Group A with four points ahead of the final round of matches.
‘It’s going to be a big challenge. We have no doubt, even if that (unbeaten) record wasn’t there, Italy are a big footballing nation and always make games difficult,’ Bale said.
‘We’re under no illusions, it’s going to be a difficult game, but all we can do is plan, prepare and give it our all when we get on the pitch.
‘It’s difficult to say where the game would rank if we won but it would for sure be a proud moment for all of us. A great result for Wales and one we’re going to try and do.’
Italy have been one of the stories of Euro 2020 so far after two very impressive performances
Wales are looking to burst Italy’s bubble and could finish top of the group still with a victory