Italy coach Roberto Mancini said he needs to find a way to get his team scoring again and blamed his side's poor fitness after their 1-0 defeat to Portugal in the UEFA Nations League on Monday night.
The Azzurri have scored just nine goals in their past 13 games since a 5-0 win over Liechtenstein in a World Cup qualifier in June 2017, and while Monday night's blank was the first they have drawn since Mancini took charge in May, the former Manchester City manager is aware that scoring is his side's biggest limitation.
"When our condition improves, it will be positive for us, but we need to find solutions because we aren't managing to score goals and this is a problem that needs to be resolved," he told RAI television. "In football, you need to score goals, and we need to find solutions and put more into this."
Mancini originally turned to Mario Balotelli, who had not been called up by Italy since the 2014 World Cup, to help in attack, but after being criticised for his performance in the 1-1 draw against Poland in Bologna on Friday -- one Mancini originally defended -- he was dropped from the matchday squad against Portugal.
And on Monday, Mancini also repeated his appeal for clubs to place their faith in young Italian players, who he feels are not getting enough of a chance and are consequently unable to deliver when they are faced with the challenges the international game presents.
"We need to grow, there's no two ways about it," he said. "When a lad is young and is not playing at the highest level, then when he does get to play there, he has problems and that's quite normal and we knew this before."
Italy are next in action on Oct. 10, when they face Ukraine in a friendly in Genoa. Four days later, they travel to Poland for a must-win Nations League game, then face Portugal at the San Siro in Milan on Nov. 17.