Saturday October 19 2019
Fonseca: 'Modern football killing players'

Paulo Fonseca expects Roma to “take the initiative” against Claudio Ranieri’s Sampdoria, but blames the fixture list for injuries. “Modern football is killing the greatest players.”

It kicks off on Sunday at 14.00 UK time (13.00 GMT), click here for a match preview.

“Obviously, I expect this to be a difficult game, especially as Roma have only won two of their last 10 visits to Samp,” said the Coach in his Press conference.

“They just changed management and brought in Claudio Ranieri, so will be fired up. There is also the threat of weather warnings and all these circumstances come together to create a tough situation.

“Ranieri is a great Coach, very experienced, so will try to bring defensive stability to a team that is struggling. If a side defends badly, it doesn’t have much possibility of winning.

“I therefore expect to be up against a solid, compact team that will wait to hit us on the counter-attack. It’ll be up to us to find a way around that, but my men are accustomed to taking the initiative.

“I’m not worried at the recent lack of goals, because we always create the chances, including 10-12 against Cagliari. We concentrated on finishing during training this week, working hard with the players.”

Injuries are also an issue for the Giallorossi, as Edin Dzeko remains a major doubt to feature, because the facial fracture might be incompatible with a protective mask.

“Dzeko has been training with the squad for two days, his condition is not ideal, but we have one final training session to decide if he can be relied upon this weekend.

“Diego Perotti and Alessandro Florenzi are both available, as they’ve been training for a week. Javier Pastore or Davide Santon are capable of playing in midfield and we have already tested both in those positions.

“Injuries represent a problem both at club and international level, as every week we see so many injuries happen on international duty. Modern football is killing the greatest players, because it is not humanly possible to play so many games. Those at the highest level ought to reflect on that.

“In my view, there are too many competitions, at both club and international level.”

Fonseca will be watching tomorrow’s game from the stands of Marassi, having been sent off for dissent after the 1-1 draw with Cagliari and his two-match ban reduced to one on appeal.

“I can prepare beforehand, talk to the team in the hotel rather than the stadium, then Nuno Campos is a collaborator I’ve been working with since the start of my career, so I have full trust in him. We don’t even need to talk, we just understand each other.”

Finally, Fonseca was asked about Cengiz Under and the other Turkey players who made military salutes while on international duty.

“I won’t reveal what we said within the squad. I will only say that I read a Portuguese paper this morning with Jorge Valdano talking about the situation with Barcelona and Catalunya. He said: ‘Football and politics should never sleep in the same bed.’

“I say these are two very distinct and separate issues that shouldn’t even be in the same house. I don’t like to mix politics with our profession.”

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