Paulo Fonseca is keeping Roma cards close to his chest, including Henrikh Mkhitaryan’s role, because Sassuolo “deserve our full attention.”
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“We’ve had time over the international break, albeit without 10 players, to work on what we needed to do,” said the Coach in his Press conference.
“Chris Smalling felt a slight problem in his adductor, nothing serious, but we don’t want to run any risks before he gets to 100 per cent fitness. There’s a run of games coming up and I decided, along with the medical staff, to take it easy with him.
“The injuries throughout the squad are all different situations. Cengiz Under was hurt on international duty, Javier Pastore’s problems go a long way back, the others can just happen. We know Roma have a history of injuries and are analysing the various situations with the aim of preventing them.”
Fonseca is still looking for his first victory on the Roma bench after eventful draws with Genoa and Lazio.
“I am feeling confident ahead of this game. There will be something different, but I don’t intend to reveal what our strategy is. I won’t tell you who will start either. Mkhitaryan is in good shape, he is intelligent and he could play tomorrow. I won’t tell you in what position, though.
“Lorenzo Pellegrini is also an intelligent player who can take on many different roles and I won’t tell you where he’ll play tomorrow.
“We became too passive against Lazio and I want us to be more courageous, to press high up the field. I don’t want to repeat that performance.”
Sassuolo have impressed so far this season under Coach Roberto De Zerbi, who has a similar tactical approach to Fonseca.
“It is clear that De Zerbi is an excellent, courageous tactician, as you just need to see his statistics for possession and completed passes. A team like this deserves our full attention,” warned the Portuguese boss.
“I must recognise that Serie A has characteristics that I must adapt to, but there are some principles that I cannot back away from and need to help my players understand the advantages we get from having the ball, both when attacking and defending. We must change the way this team sits on the pitch.
“We are working on improving our possession statistics too. Many times in Italy, we see teams who lack patience and immediately go for the vertical pass. I want to control the ball, because that is essential to my vision of football, and we’ll keep working on that.”
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