Friday November 30 2018
Where’s it gone wrong for Di Francesco?

The Coach is under increasing pressure at Roma, and Billy Wilkinson fears there may be no way back.

It’s easy to forget where the Giallorossi where at the end of the 2016/17 season. Current Inter Coach Luciano Spalletti had just broken a club points record, finishing with 87 points, just four behind eventual winners Juventus.

In fairness, Spalletti’s relationship with James Pallotta, the fans and the dressing room had seemingly become quite fractured so it was most likely time to move on, despite him blatantly being Roma’s best Coach in quite some time.

After his exit, enter Monchi and Eusebio Di Francesco. While opinions on the pair may have changed in the past two seasons, it’s impotant to remember how highly regarded they were at the time. Monchi was regarded as a jaw dropping coup by Roma after his work at Sevilla, and Di Francesco was regarded as an excellent young tactician.

We’re now a season and one third into the pairings tenure and Roma have only gone one way – backwards. They currently reside in 7th place with 19 points from 13 games, four points away from cross-town rivals Lazio in fourth and 18 points behind leaders Juventus. Pallotta appears reluctant to sack Di Francesco, perhaps paying respect to the Champions League run last year, or perhaps it’s related to the financial cost of sacking a Coach.

However, that’s all speculation. What can be analysed and properly discussed is where it’s all gone wrong.

One glaring issue - arguably the main one - that led Roma to this point is transfers. The key core that helped Spalletti to success has been all but gutted. The likes of Wojciech Szczesny, Mohamed Salah, Radja Nainggolan, Emerson as well as a few more weren’t replaced with adequate replacements.
Considering Roma’s debt levels and the impending financial commitment of their new stadium, it does make sense to cash in on their stars and re-invest in young players. However, it can be strongly argued that Monchi and co. took this to the extreme. Whilst recent purchases such as Cengiz Under, Patrik Schick and Justin Kluivert look like great prospects, as youngsters do they go through inconsistent highs and lows.

Alas the youngsters are not the main issue in regards to transfers. Those who could be considered ‘readymade’ players have struggled arguably more than the youngsters and have been downgrades on their predecessors. Goalkeeper Robin Olsen has been shaky through the first four months of the season, while Bryan Cristante, Javier Pastore and Steven Nzonzi have been incredibly inconsistent in conjunction with their weighty price tags.
With such regular changes in the dressing room, it’s difficult to foster a consistent team spirit, not to mention the Francesco Totti shaped hole that still remains in terms of the team’s leadership.

As stated some of the transfers have been iffy but it’s more than arguable that Di Francesco should be doing better with the squad at his disposal. Defeats such as the one against SPAL and draws such as the one against Chievo have been more embarrassing and worrying in not just terms of draws and losses, but the manner in which they ended up with those results.
It’s not impossible for Di Francesco to turn this round, but midseason, a change on the bench is a lot easier and cheaper than trying to reconstruct a new squad. Not to mention, the dressing room and in particular the fans seem to be losing faith in the man in the dugout. There might be no way back.

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Have your say...
...and Lamela and Benatia - I'm sure there's even more - it's really crazy. Please can we keep Under and Kluivert for a few years at least please?
on the 3rd December, 2018 at 1:26am
no one even mentioned Pjanic and Marquinhos - it's amazing we are still in Serie A given all the player sales
on the 3rd December, 2018 at 12:19am
patrick cutrone is the man.
patrick is on fire
on the 3rd December, 2018 at 12:18am
If EDF is smart he himself will look for a new club asap. The problem is the management. Reminds me a lot of Milan when they gutted the team of their best players by selling to PSG to stay afloat financially, Ibra and Thiago for instance and then start complaining that Allegri not doing his job. They've been in the gutter ever since. The problem is not EDF folks, what coach in their right mind would agree to this? The question is why is EDF so desperate to coach a selling club?
on the 2nd December, 2018 at 8:25pm
Glad so many are saying it's not EDF's fault, because it's not. Pallotta more concerned with building and acquiring land than the team, wanted Monchi to buy bargains to sell on, and lost Allisson, Nainggolan, Strootman bringing in players who'll need time, are average, injury prone or youngsters. EDF should have been backed after last season - it's the club hierarchy who have gone back. Pallotta is like a Serie A Mike Ashley.
on the 2nd December, 2018 at 10:02am

hardly the same roma actually brought players to replace those who left milan never had the same luxury plus galliani was a disaster buying the likes of matri bertolacci balotelli poli zapata constant with the budget available.

i look at roma the likes of under kluviert zaniolo schick cristante and pellegrini they look like real prospects for the future we haven't even seen coric yet. As for scapegoating come on it is calcio it has always been this way when it comes to coaches.
on the 1st December, 2018 at 7:01pm
Do the people wanting Di Francesco's head have amnesia? This happened in the summer of 2012 when another great club gutted out their team, failed miserably as a result and eventually fired their coach who went on to win 4 doubles and take his new club to 2 CL finals. Sick of how often coaches are used as scapegoats when the higher ups totally destroy the club.
on the 1st December, 2018 at 1:40pm
Did anyone actually expect Roma to be top 2 this season? How about top 3? Top 4?

At the start of the season I expected they'd duke it out for 4th spot with AC Milan and Lazio and that's exactly what's going to happen. EDF is performing as expected - wouldn't fire him for that because nobody's going to perform better with such a fresh squad.
on the 1st December, 2018 at 6:49am
...gotta add as well Pastore was such a waste of money. He’s nearly a shadow of who he was when he was a promising young up and comer at Palermo. He was Dybala before Dybala. PSG snatched him up, used him up, sucked him dry like the vampires they are,now a shell of a player at Roma he looks like he’s a year or two from retirement. It’s gotta be weird for Totti do sit there and get paid €140,000 a year for nothing while watching the club throw away all the success of last 10 years.
on the 1st December, 2018 at 5:08am
Roma has an average squad and Di Francesco is not cut to coach bigger clubs.
That's all there is to it really.
on the 1st December, 2018 at 1:12am
The misleadership of Roma's top brass has created enough instability. They shouldn't add to it by sacking the manager in mid season.

It's hard to judge EDF fairly when upper (mis)management is constantly selling their best players and bringing in young new players, who both have to learn the new system and are inherently inconsistent as young players are.

Roma will never be a big club again until they stop selling their best players every bloody year, as they have for at least the last few.
on the 30th November, 2018 at 10:23pm
He’s a decent coach and a Romanista. Give him some more time. Unless your coach is Ventura or Serse Cosmi there’s no reason to get out the ax so quickly....(cuz they are worst coaches in Serie A history). Don’t know why or when coaches started to get fired over one bad result or dismal short run after a great period,or even winning trophy.
like Giallo said, they sold some of the best players not only on team but in the world?
Salah A.Becker Nainggolan. Use that money,get top star players.
on the 30th November, 2018 at 10:14pm
The forwards desperately need Perotti back in order to challenge for a place on the team.
Either way...we need a creative midfielder cause neither Pastore nor Nzonzi can provide what is lacking
on the 30th November, 2018 at 9:35pm
Not his fault. You can witness DiFra screaming at his midfield constantly to provide more forward passes...its his midfield that is afraid to make mistakes, thus alot of side passing until Kor or Flo and move the ball up the wings...thus their game plan is easily subdued by lower level teams.
When they play more attacking opposition, the space is there thus the forwards get chances...but.....can't finish even the simplest of chances.
Nzonzi is a bust...strootman and Cristante are like for like.
on the 30th November, 2018 at 9:32pm

It's ON Monchi. He wanted rid of Sabatini's regime so HE got rid of our backbone in Ninja & Stroots. Selling Alisson was INEVITABLE due to FFP.

Although....Zaniolo is an amazing talent but I still wish we had the grinta, as only 2 possessed that, Ninja & DDR.

Strootman is regressing, I don't care he left as we have Cristante who can learn.

Pastore is A JOKE!!! Pellegrini has is place sown up in the 4-2-3-1.

Dzeko is injued for weeks, It's NOW or NEVER for Schick!!!
on the 30th November, 2018 at 7:44pm
How is this EDF's problem? This is Monchi who sold the whole midfield. I could not understand the sale of strootman. It's really annoying. Get Italians to coach and be sporting directors. Leave marketing to foreigners to increase revenue as Italians are poor at growing revenue strategies.
on the 30th November, 2018 at 6:54pm
Roma has had a strong side for years, often only 2nd best to Juve. Along with losing Totti, the entire core of that team has been dismantled of the last 3 seasons.
Important players like Szczesny, Alisson, Rudiger, Strootman, Nainggolan, Emerson, Gervinho, Paredes, Salah... all gone.
Palotta and Monchi went too far this summer in selling Alisson, Strootman AND Nainggolan.
EDF doesn't deserve to lose his job over managements poor strategy.
on the 30th November, 2018 at 5:32pm
I agree with most of the other opinions here, I don't think Di Francesco is really the problem. One, he can't control the loss of experienced players during the summer, and second, as has already been mentioned, you can't blame him for the countless individual errors, many of them outright stupid, that players have committed this season. Is it his fault Džeko seems only able to score in the Champions League, or that Schick is a bust? Or the Ünder and Fazio errors this week.
on the 30th November, 2018 at 4:41pm
Fire Monchi the poorest sporting director I have ever seen buys and sells players like he's playing some kind of game. I saw his incompetence when he was at Sevilla, he would buy and sell half the team in one transfer window. Di Francesco was done wrong by the club instead of building on the great players they had they sold them and replaced them with bad players.
on the 30th November, 2018 at 3:46pm
its not the coach FFS. What do you expect when you sell 4 of your starting 11 and replace them with KIDS
on the 30th November, 2018 at 3:42pm
I'm sorry how can you blame the coach here? Madrid for example they dominated and his game plan put Under in a position to score an OPEN goal. 1-0 Roma. 2nd half Fazio like a moron headers it straight to Bale, not backwards but in his direction. 1-0 Madrid. It's not his fault the players are poor. Blame them for a change!

Blame the board for constantly selling their best players. Youth project? More like nurture and sell on. Joke of a club.
on the 30th November, 2018 at 2:50pm
he should be fired, 19 points from 13 games is an absolute disgrace. he'll be fired once they get eliminated from CL round of 16.
on the 30th November, 2018 at 12:08pm
And why should Roma not put trust in EDF, because it's easier to be like any other Italian club at the sign of the first trouble sack the coach, it's like that's the only person that may hurt the club haha!, being a frantic club as Roma is sticking with EDF would be good and it would at least offer some sort of stability, since usually coaches left the Rome by themselves.
on the 30th November, 2018 at 11:32am
One of the problems is that they (like so many other Serie A sides, & the National team) are incredibly wasteful in front of goal & make silly mistakes at the back when they should already be out of sight. I've watched Roma on many occasions this season, this is a regular occurrence. It's been a similar story at Napoli, & even with Juve in the CL. It's very frustrating to watch as a fan so god only knows how stressful it is for the coach.
on the 30th November, 2018 at 10:26am

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