Wednesday September 18 2019
Fonseca plans Roma rotation

Roma will not be able to call on Chris Smalling again, but Paulo Fonseca is confident rotation will pay off against Istanbul Basaksehir tomorrow.

Smalling remains out of the Roma squad with a muscle injury, so Juan Jesus could come into their central defence as Fonseca is “considering making a few changes” for Thursday’s Europa League opener.

“This is an important competition and our clear objective is to get through the first stage,” the Coach said at a Press conference.

“There are some very good teams in this competition so it will be difficult, but we want to go as far as possible. We have big ambitions for this competition.

“We know we only have a few days before we play again. We have to give the players enough time to recover, so I’m considering making a few changes.

“However, I’m fully confident that all of the players are good options that will give us enough to win the game. We can’t not think about the games to come.”

The Giallorossi have so far shown no problems scoring goals but conceded four in the final half-hour of their first three games, so is tiredness a problem?

“The team is in good physical shape. I have noticed that in our games, but all the matches have been different.

“We raised our level towards the end of the Genoa game, while in our last match the situation was different and could be put down to the fact that many of the players were coming off the back of international duty, such as Dzeko, Florenzi, Pellegrini, Miki and Kolarov. That had repercussions on their performances, but overall the team has done well physically.”

Fonseca was then asked about Javier Pastore, Lorenzo Pellegrini, Nikola Kalinic and Sassuolo goalscorer Justin Kluivert.

“First of all, you need to consider what Pastore has been through recently: he had a difficult season last year with several injuries and now he’s getting back to his best.

“He’s a quality, smart, technically special player – he can come in handy for the team. We hope he can get back fit but we all know that he’s a top player.

"He’s been a model professional from my first day here, showing great dedication. He’s a hard worker and an honest person and that’s why he’s in my plans.

“You have to understand the circumstances he’s been through, but he can be a very useful player.

“Lorenzo had a very good performance as trequartista, but he can easily play in several different positions, just like Zaniolo.

“I’m focusing on our next match – I don’t want to look too much further ahead. As I’ve already said, having versatile players in the squad can be a really positive thing. 

“I don’t want to give too much away in terms of the game tomorrow – you’ll see who plays.

“As for Kalinic, he’s not yet at peak fitness and doesn’t have 90 minutes in his legs, because he wasn’t playing for a long time.

“Our style of play and the way we attack the space is perfect for his attributes, which are really important to the team.

“[Justin] had a great game against Sassuolo, but he’d done well before that too. He’s more confident in front of goal and I think his speed can be an important weapon for the side.”

The 46-year-old has experience of facing Basaksehir, who once had Cengiz Under in their ranks...

“I don’t remember facing Cengiz in that game simply because Shakhtar dominated and didn’t give him the chance to shine.

“We’re up against a very experienced team tomorrow, with players such as Robinho, [Martin] Skrtel and [Arda] Turan, who have had brilliant careers and have always competed to win competitive leagues.

“They deserve a great deal of attention from us. We don’t want to be caught off-guard.”

Roma squad to face Basaksehir: Pau Lopez, Cardinale, Mirante; Juan Jesus, Kolarov, Santon, Fazio, Mancini, Florenzi, Spinazzola; Cristante, Pellegrini, Veretout, Zaniolo, Pastore, Diawara; Mkhitaryan, Dzeko, Kalinic, Kluivert

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