Zdenek Zeman has held his first press conference as new Coach of Roma. “I knew that sooner or later I would’ve returned here.”
The tactician left his job at promoted Pescara in order to sign a two-year contract with option on a third at the Olimpico, returning to the club he left 13 years ago.
“I am happy and thank the club for their faith in me,” he opened. “I knew that sooner or later I would’ve returned here, to my city. Hopefully we can collaborate and build something together.
“We will try to win and believe in our chances, but then again I’ve never seen a Coach who didn’t. It’s also true that I was quite close to re-joining Roma in 2006.”
Zeman replaces Luis Enrique with the mandate to repeat his Pescara success, which involved making the most out of young players with very attacking and entertaining football.
“Pescara should set the example. A Coach always prefers people who want to learn and improve. There are some older players who do that too, such as Aldair in my day, which was very satisfying. The transfer session starts in July and we’ll try to figure out what this team needs.
“I don’t know yet what this Roma will look like, as we have to build it. I hope to find the players that suit our project. As for the current squad, there are some who didn’t do well last season, but everyone has a chance to prove themselves.
“Francesco Totti? He is a Roma player and I deal with him the same way I do the rest of the squad. Daniele De Rossi is a midfielder, as to be the ‘regista’ he needs other characteristics. He can play in defence only in an emergency.”
The Czech tactician shook off suggestions he’d bring back the ‘Zemanlandia’ spectacle of all attack and no defence.
“People say I have changed tactically, but I don’t really agree. I want my team to entertain the fans and bring them closer to the team, giving them strong emotional responses. I hope to convince the sceptics that we can work well.
“It’s normal that you risk something in defence, but if you score 90 goals then it shouldn’t really worry you how many are conceded. Football is made up of attacking and defending, but I think for players too it is better to create than to destroy.
“I am convinced the Roma fans are always close to the team, both in good and bad times, so I hope it will be the same this year.”
Zeman has always been highly critical of gamesmanship, Calciopoli, referees and sparked an investigation into the use of medication in sport.
“The problem with football is that it’s no longer credible. Now we want to be credible and we want to be followed, proving you can have fair play in the sport.
“I think it’s wrong not to talk about referees, but seeing as I am a Roma employee then I will adapt to their policy.”