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Thursday March 7 2019
Di Francesco is Roma history

Eusebio Di Francesco made history for Roma as both player and Coach, but Daryl Hammond believes the axe had to fall for Claudio Ranieri and another new era.

Having won Serie A as a player with Roma, Eusebio Di Francesco will also be immortalised as a Coach for his part in their historic comeback against Barcelona, but memories are very short in football.

Though his future seemed uncertain after a 3-0 Serie A loss to fierce rivals Lazio at the weekend, all would have been forgotten if they found their way past Porto in the second leg of their Champions League last 16 clash. 

But a 3-1 extra time loss piled on top of many dismal performances this season meant DiFra has paid the ultimate price. UK betting sites widely expect Claudio Ranieri to take over, the Premier League winner having previously been in charge in the capital a decade ago. He defied the odds to take Leicester City to the title but his most recent posting, at Fulham, was little short of a disaster with the London club odds-on to go down. That's a fate not likely to befall Roma anytime soon but given Juventus' dominance domestically, it'd be only slightly less of an upset if the Lupi emulated Ranieri's Foxes in the near future.

Sure, the Champions League has already thrown up bigger shocks with Manchester United coming from 2-0 at home to beat PSG and Ajax demolishing holders Real Madrid, but this was a tie Roma expected to win. 

As meetings with Manchester City, Barcelona, Bayern Munich, Borussia Dortmund and PSG were all a possibility, Porto – thumped 4-0 by Liverpool at this stage last season – were a welcome sight in the Last 16 draw. 

Having reached the semi-finals last season, maybe expectations were too great, having punched above their weight.  Some of the foibles in the 49-year-old's tactical plans reared their head during that run, as he gifted Liverpool the time and space to nearly put the tie to bed in the first leg of the semi-final. 

In fact, Roma faltered in every first leg of their run through the knock-out stages, as Di Francesco seemed only able to motivate his side once they were down in the tie. Comfortable being the chasers, but never the leaders. 

Their defence, or seeming lack thereof, might be the biggest gripe fans have with the way the side have played under the Italian of late. The Giallorossi have kept only one clean sheet in their last 10 matches, conceding eight more league goals than the entirety of last season with a third of the campaign left.  

A naturally attacking Coach, few expected him to turn the Romans into Juventus, but the dearth of defensive solidity is starting to cost them as they fail to outscore opponents.  

Also dumped out of the Coppa Italia in embarrassing fashion (7-1 to Fiorentina), Roma have nothing left to fight for but fourth place. 

For a club that wants more than to battle for a top four spot season on season, it was a performance worthy of breaking out the P45. But not all the blame for Roma’s malaise this season rests on his shoulders. 

President James Pallotta has cashed in on many of the club’s assets, leaving Di Francesco without stars like Mohamed Salah, Alisson Becker, Kevin Strootman and Radja Nainggolan. 

Those sought out by sporting director Monchi to replace them, such as Justin Kluivert and Javier Pastore, weren’t even on the bench in Portugal. Some very loudly argue he should be the next out the door. 

The wonders he did of constantly flipping players for big money is only sustainable if a Coach can deal with the tumultuousness of an ever-changing figures and if those around the club keep expectations low.

Moreover, Di Francesco has been forced to surrogate experience for youth in the hope the club can make a buck or two in the future. Building something long lasting and meaningful is difficult in those conditions. 

Whomever takes the reins full-time in the summer will have to deal with the same complications, but as of now the duty of steering the ship back on course falls to former Roma boss Ranieri.

It is easy to point at his recent failings at Fulham and question his appointment, though the problems at the West London club run deeper, stemming from their expensive, but poorly-built squad. 

More worrying might be his spell at Nantes, who after a dazzling start quickly trailed off with only four wins in their last 19 matches. His odds-defying Premier League title win with Leicester City clearly did wonders for his stock among those who hire and fire managers, but that’s not really why he was chosen for this role. 

Roma only want to secure a Champions League spot for next season, which will help them find a more permanent new Coach. Ranieri fits the bill, as he has just been fired by Fulham and is a committed lifelong Roma supporter, so will be content to step aside for the good of the club.

This is now Year Zero. Monchi is surely out the door too, so the Giallorossi can spend the next few months preparing for a whole new era.

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Have your say...
This is a real thing? Why are football writers so pro-Dumb when it comes to Roma?

These articles are a joke.
on the 23rd March, 2019 at 2:51pm
Di francesco made miracles with what he had, i am a napoli fan but enjoyed watching roma comeback against Barcelona and continue there UCL run in 2019. Pallota is to blame for stripping team to bones. These Owner like ADL use the team for financial gain only and give bare minimum, its your capitalist business model. They need a scapegoat for fallout. Sad to see but Roma had lots of potential and have done better then they have in long time.
on the 8th March, 2019 at 11:00pm
This is yet one more proof that AS Roma ain't nothing but a joke of a club! DId they forgot so soon what EDF did for them last year?! Or they began fantasizing they're Real Madrid - sacking a coach if he doesn't win anything! Well, if they do, then they ought to stop acting like Atalanta, 'cause you can't pretend to be Real and act like a small team, whose future depends on selling its best players each summer!
And they think Ranieri will set things right, with his ugly style? That's so STUPID!
on the 8th March, 2019 at 10:10pm
@a Varsavia and EDF is martian??
on the 8th March, 2019 at 9:27pm
DiFrancesco did well for Roma unfortunately he made bad decisions putting in Karsdorp who was terrible and Dzeko who sold him out in the end. At the end of day the player is the executioner of skill so if there is a mentality lapse and you dont realize before you start that your player is not all there it will come back to kill you as it did. Not counting VAR & officiating, this referee who is a terrible referee at best from past officiating. Does not deserve firing players deserve to be banned.
on the 8th March, 2019 at 7:54pm
An advantage of Ranieri is he's Italian, but doubt he is a coach at European level. Might be good as interim manager till proper signing in the summer.
on the 8th March, 2019 at 5:12pm
I'm a Juventus fan, but this incident makes me very sad for Calcio and Roma.

Di Francesco was IMO treated very unfairly. He took over an unbalanced Roma side and gave them belief and confidence, and with a bit of luck he could've played in Kiev. But Pallotta and Monchi dismantled that side and didn't fortify yet expected Di Francesco to succeed. Utter stupidity.

Letting Di Francesco go makes things worse for Roma. Ranieri can hold the ship steady, but firing Di Francesco means 2 steps back.
on the 8th March, 2019 at 11:38am
English coaches think they have it bad...Jim the builder strikes again. He should have stuck with EDF, stopped stripping the team, backed the coach who while of course not perfect gave Roma one of their greatest victories, had a philosophy but was flexible tactically, played attacking football and got results with what is not a great squad. As for Ranieri being the answer...
on the 8th March, 2019 at 9:35am
The back 5 is streets behind Juve, Napoli, Inter and Milan. A product of sheer neglect. Only Atalanta have conceded more in the top 10. There is no case that they *should* be in the top 4. There is no manager who could make Robin Olsen a decent keeper, or make Fazio mobile. They gutted the midfield and expected those remaining to click instantly. They started poorly - EDF improved the results over time but what did anyone expect? Pallotta is a joke and EDF is gone because of it.
on the 8th March, 2019 at 9:26am
Blame is on the owner IMO. Monchi was hired to buy youth. Di Francesco to develop youth. They were both doing their job well in that respect.

EDF made brave decisions and was getting a lot out of youngsters like Zaniolo, Under, Pellegrini.

It's irrational to expect such high turnover and youth integration with consistent results. Dropping 2 spots in seriea + CL round of 16 isn't bad considering. If the owner isn't happy he has to rethink this strategy - maybe he has considering the layoffs.
on the 8th March, 2019 at 5:28am
I really liked EDF all round good guy. Hard worker, passionate player and coach for Roma.
He didn’t quit on them, they quit on him.
First off he came into club just after Totti farewell,post Spaletti,and all the BS of a new stadio,selling of top players, and we need to keep winning,etc. then has pretty good season,almost made CL final. Then they sell Alisson,Ninja,Strootman. and didn’t replace them with equal talent. Oh Monchi was supposed to solve things...yea ok. He made things worse. Sad.
on the 8th March, 2019 at 5:02am
Palotta should sack himself instead. He sold Roma's main engine (Strootman & Radja), and Roma's fortress (Alisson), now he's blaming EDF? He should be grateful that EDF (and Monchi) found Zaniolo, otherwise Roma would have been eliminated in the first round.

As for EDF, I still highly regard him as the hidden gem of Italy. How he managed to change Roma's mentality in the UCL was very surprising.

Your lost, Roma. You will regret this decision.
on the 8th March, 2019 at 4:52am

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