Italy boss Roberto Mancini is confident his side can learn from their mistakes after labouring to a 1-1 draw against Poland in the Nations League opener in Bologna.
Mancini is looking to rebuild after the Azzurri’s failure to reach the World Cup for the first time since 1958.
However, it was a rather lacklustre display for much of the clash at the Stadio Renato Dall’Ara, where Napoli midfielder Piotr Zielinski had volleyed Poland into a deserved first-half lead.
Italy, though, at least produced a spark during the latter stages, when impressive substitute Federico Chiesa, son of former Italy striker Enrico, had been brought down to earn a penalty, which was coolly dispatched by Chelsea midfielder Jorginho.
Tougher challenges lie ahead for Italy, who face Portugal in Lisbon on Monday night.
Mancini, though, feels there is plenty to build on.
“It was the first important match of this new cycle. There were too many mistakes at the start, but we did much better in the second half,” the Italy boss told reporters.
“We were too imprecise technically. We need to improve this and we can certainly do so.”
Forward Mario Balotelli made his first competitive appearance for the Azzurri since the 2014 World Cup, having been drafted back into the international squad by his former club boss at both Inter Milan and Manchester City.
The Nice striker, though, had a limited impact, often isolated in attack and was replaced after an hour.
Mancini, though, hopes Balotelli will continue to make a contribution on the road towards Euro 2020.
“Mario needs to play, he is an experienced player on the international stage, but his fitness levels are an issue right now,” the Italy boss said.
Poland, who finished bottom of their group at the World Cup, impressed for spells, especially in the first half as they look to move forwards under new boss Jerzy Brzeczek.
Goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski, given little chance as Jorginho sent him the wrong way with a trademark flicked penalty, believes there are plenty of positives.
“It is just the beginning of a new era,” the West Ham stopper said, quoted by UEFA’s website.
“We played bravely, we kept the ball wisely, we were able to build our attacks and we were good in pressing.
“Maybe in the second half we should have had more possession, but let’s not forget we played against a very good team on their own pitch.”