Zdenek Zeman praised Francesco Totti as “the best player I ever worked with” and warns Roma that Luis Enrique-style possession football is “futile.”
The ex-Pescara Coach is raring to go, making his return to the Olimpico after a 13-year absence.
“I am happy to be back after so many years in an environment that allowed me to have fun,” he told Roma Channel.
“The fans often asked me to return over these 13 years and I’m happy to be here. I hope to give Roma what I could not in my first two years here. Our work aims to bring enjoyment to me, the players and the fans.
“In my football I try to eliminate pointless things, so for me a horizontal pass is futile, as it’s just loaning each other the ball. We must always try to do something that will have meaning.”
This feels like the opposite of what predecessor Luis Enrique wanted over the past season at Roma.
“I think it’s only normal that coming out of the Barcelona school, where they focus so much on possession, that means preparing for a long move that takes you to the conclusion.
“I am quicker, in the sense that with possession you also give your opponents time to get settled in defence. It’s much more difficult to break down a defence that is closed rather than catching them unprepared. I also see long-range shots as rather desperate. In my type of football, the striker must receive service.
“We also play the same way, whether home or away. With Pescara this season we scored 45 goals at home and 45 on our travels.”
Zeman had said in his presentation press conference that Daniele De Rossi was not a creative midfielder.
“There was a misunderstanding. In my view De Rossi is not an Andrea Pirlo-style ‘regista,’ as he is more of a central midfielder who can give balance to the side. Of course he can play in all three midfield roles, but that’s a different matter entirely. It depends on where the team needs him the most.
“Totti is the best player I ever worked with. He had talent and showed it off. He changed role, becoming a centre-forward and therefore more susceptible to getting fouled, so the two major injuries have taken their toll. I haven’t spoken to him yet, as he’s in America on his vacation.”
Zeman is known as a hard task-master and warned there will be big changes for the Giallorossi.
“I’ve been told I’m old-fashioned. The more you work, the better you get, so I’ll bring back the double training sessions.”