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Mancini sure of football returning to boost Italy amid COVID-19 pandemic

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Italy head coach Roberto Mancini hopes football in the country can return as soon as possible. Like all major competitions across the world, Serie A is on hiatus as part of efforts to combat the spread of COVID-19, with northern Italy particularly badly affected by the virus.

Mancini was due to lead the Azzurri at Euro 2020 in June, but the tournament has been put back 12 months.

The former Inter and Manchester City boss believes sport can act as a social boost for a population hit hard by the events of recent weeks.“It is a terrible thing for many families who have lost loved ones,” Mancini told SportMediaset.

“I hope everything returns as before. I heard some guys [players], they are all well and I hope we can go back to playing as soon as possible.

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“I hope it starts because football is also a very important social thing, then we’ll see what will happen.

“And I hope this terrible thing will end soon. It will take a little more attention, but we deserve to go back to living as before. Everything that happened was unjust.”

Serie A paused in the midst of a gripping title race, with long-reigning champions Juventus one point ahead of surprise package Lazio with 12 games remaining.

Mancini believes the unscheduled and lengthy break will lead to unpredictability if the action resumes, meaning he refuses to rule former employers Inter in third and free-scoring Atalanta in fourth out of contention.

“I think anything can happen because there has never been such an upheaval,” he said.“It’s difficult to make predictions. Juventus are in the lead and remain the strongest, but anything can happen.“Inter could also be back in the race and Atalanta. When you stop for so long it can change everything. Nothing is excluded.”

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