Sunday February 16 2020
Fonseca already on Roma warning

Football Italia Chief Correspondent Richard Hall can already see another Roma overhaul on the horizon if Paulo Fonseca fails to get a top four finish.

Travelling to Bergamo and coming away with anything these days isn’t easy. Last night there was no doubt that the character and quality Atalanta displayed was enough to topple the Romans. The defeat asked even more questions of the Giallorossi, who have been in dismal form of late. As is seemingly inevitable in the Eternal City, enthusiasm for coaches has the longevity of a paper bag more than the Pantheon. Already there are question marks raised over Paulo Fonseca’s project and whether another overhaul is needed.

It is inarguable that 2020 has been a terrible year for the Giallorossi. It started with back-to-back home defeats; the teams from Turin did a number on them as both the Granata and the Old Lady emerged from the Stadio Olimpico with maximum points. It seemed as though wins against Parma and a poor Genoa may have stabilised them, but after a credible draw in the Derby Della Captitale, it seems things have deteriorated. Defeats to Sassuolo, Bologna and now Atalanta have seen them concede nine goals in their last three games and they look like a side with few ideas left.

La Gazzetta dello Sport were keen to point out that the defeat to Atalanta was fatal for Roma’s Champions League hopes. That is a little excessive, as six points (technically seven now they have the superior head-to-head record) is not impossible to claw back. Fonseca was not going to be critical of his team after the game, he made it clear that in his opinion, tactically they got it right and in the first half they didn’t allow Atalanta many chances. The team from Bergamo however, did come close in the first 45 minutes on three occasions, but when Roma went in at the break 1-0 up, it will have been a disappointment that they could not close it out again.

Fonseca claims he has to work on his team’s mental fragility, something Roma fans will have heard before. Even Edin Dzeko was not shy in coming forward recently, when he stated that some of his teammates were not playing at Serie A standard. The forward can claim this as he has arguably been one of their better performers, even though 11 goals in 22 rounds are perhaps not up to his own high standards. Chris Smalling, Aleksandar Kolarov, Lorenzo Pellegrini and before his injury, the very much missed, Nicolò Zaniolo, can come out of this season with credit.

The problem is that that whilst Fonseca has said his team played with courage, as they try to create a style that gives them an identity, this has also been a weakness. Not all of the players seem to have bought into this and there are certainly players who look fearful in this system. The jury is still out on Pau Lopez, Cengiz Under has ‘under’ performed, as have the likes of Leonardo Spinazzola, Gianluca Mancini and Bryan Cristante. There are certainly too many players who are either coasting with mediocre displays or are blowing incredibly hot and cold.

So where are Roma? Do they trust in what Paulo Fonseca is doing and wait for another transfer window so that they can get more players in who fit the system? It is certainly an argument that could be put forward, as if you employ a coach like Fonseca, it certainly feels like that it is for a long-term project and not a quick fix. Defensively, they need improving however, and this is the main criticism of his tenure. Hellas Verona for instance are behind them in sixth place, they have conceded eight fewer goals.

The Giallorossi now have a chance to re-group and take on the Europa League. Gent will not be an easy fixture, but in context of the draw, it is kind. A win at home against the Belgians will give them confidence before Lecce, Cagliari and Sampdoria all offer a possibility of maximum points.

Roma are at a crossroads, they need to ask the maximum of their players and as the coach said, look at the mental side of the game. He believes in the players, now do they believe in him?

Have your say...
The mental problem has been with Roma for as long as I remember.
It is strange that many players come to the club and are affected the same way. Coaches also.
The city expects so much from this team and as UST said, sometimes you need to become numb to the results but love the team anyway.
If they make a serious run in the Europa League, the love will come back for this club (remember the CL semi).
on the 19th February, 2020 at 5:01am
I know he was used further at Atalanta...
But even then he wasn't turning heads, like Barella did or Tonali is doing.
No one was hyped when Roma signed him.
And OMG; they shelled over 20 mil for the guy!
(We have better options for that advanced position in Pastore, Pellegrini, Perotti.)

Mancini is even worse.
He's a horrible defender! Was already horrible at Atalanta.
Last year, towards the end, he didn't start for La Dea so Atalanta's play IMPROVED & they were able to get into CL!!!
on the 18th February, 2020 at 7:19pm
Anyone supporting Cristante becomes my enemy ;)

You seriously don't see how bad he is??
Even stats support this --How Roma plays WITH HIM or WITHOUT HIM.
(Zaniolo played at beginning of season when Roma performed badly WITH Bryan, so you can't list Nicolo's injury as excuse..!)

It's also no coincidence that Mancini wasn't used in defence in period where Roma's game improved tremendously.

Every player deserves patience and support from fans...
Year & half was more than enough for Bryan.
on the 18th February, 2020 at 7:02pm
You know how cool it is when Brazil plays in World Cup Final & every commentator in the World singles out Alisson as ROMA player??
--He's a walking advertise, a billboard senator for his club.

Radja lost his teeth for Roma (--That ACTUALLY HAPPENED!)...
To be replaced with a 6-month younger N'Zonzi???
Great motivation for Dzeko & others to "bleed" for this club. "--Destroy yourself, so you or your teammate gets sold or thrown out!"
on the 18th February, 2020 at 6:36pm
My club, only a "feeder club" for other teams??

That strategy destroyed Roma's growth & Reverse strategy (each year buying one proven Champion) propelled Liverpool into strathosphere!

You hope your player will become a new Messi/Carlos/Zidane... not to enjoy him & attract fans or other talents that would like to play with him...

And then you spend more on his replacementS??? Yes--PLURAL!

At least do a "Cavani-Higuain", "Griezman-Joao Felix" swap --not an "Alisson-Olsen"!
on the 18th February, 2020 at 6:12pm
Just to finish my main point from that rant bellow...

We accepted that Roma had to come up with 50 mil each July...
--It was hilarious when directors claimed they WILL 100% NOT sell a particular player 3 days before actually selling him... (Why even bluff? You just make club a laughingstock.)

But after that INCREDIBLE CL run, they really showed their colors!
1. Superstar players would be sold anyway (Alisson).
2. Loyalty wouldn't be rewarded (Radja).

I can't support that. -->
on the 18th February, 2020 at 5:42pm
Losing Zaniolo was a huge blow for Roma, he was looking very good and could have been a key player for Italy in the summer. I think you are being very harsh about Lopez. I think apart from the mistake against Lazio he has looked very assured.
Not sure why Cristante is being singled out before either, he has missed large chunks of the season and can't be held as a scapegoat. I think when he has played he has played well, let's not forget, at Atalanta he played further forward not in front of the
on the 18th February, 2020 at 9:23am
Unquestionably Roma has made some bad player decisions but have still remained competitive. Fonseca knows his team is inconsistent and makes poor mental decisions and costly mistakes . The most difficult task for any coach is changing the psychology of a team especially one as famous as Roma in the capital of Italy. Time,patience and stability is what the team needs now. I am certain that Palotta wants to succeed and change can come quickly , more leadership is required on and off the pitch.
on the 17th February, 2020 at 8:59pm

I agree with you.

"Don't let your love become burden to you and dont let your hatred become damage/loss."
Says Umar bin Khattab.
on the 17th February, 2020 at 6:19am
Last year I was in a lot of pain because of Roma's decisions.
But I stopped caring before this season when they took Mancini, Kalinic, Smalling...
(Though, I regret hating on Chris as he proved me wrong!)

I realised this trend won't change (Cristante's renewal... laughable January transfers...)
I still watch every Roma game, even friendlies --but on a safe distance.
I wish all other Roma supporters this Peace.
They can sell the whole team.

Hopefully, Friedkin will bring back a spark
on the 16th February, 2020 at 5:34pm
Lovel, "Come rain or shine"?

You have a son. He's hard-working, well-behaved. But cancer strikes him. Car runs over him.

You have a son. He's 30. Doesn't want to work. Does drugs. Steals money from you, even though you give him 200EUR each month. Stabbs his sister cause she confronted him for stealing/ selling HER car.

As long as they make this horrible decisions, I am detached/ numb.
on the 16th February, 2020 at 5:01pm
6. I'm getting deppressed writting this so I'll stop...

Not only did Roma buy average players, they overspent BIG TIME!!!
Pastore. N'Zonzi. Karsdorp. B.Perez. Olsen. Shick. Bianda. Cristante. Kluivert. Mancini. Santon. Coric.
11 mil for Bianda?? SERIOUSLY??
Pastore instead of magician Ziyech?? Wasn't Javier ALWAYS injured & happily sat on PSG bench??
Why give Kalinic 2 mil salary??

I don't see how they can bounce back.
Milan hasn't risen yet, so maybe next year Roma can AGAIN START their growt
on the 16th February, 2020 at 4:41pm
5. Roma didn't have to sell anymore!!!
They had a great team, fans loved these players.
Serie A even received FOUR CL PLACES.
Who could stop Roma??
Just buy 2 "already-Worldclass" players instead of 8 "only-promising" ones to really jump in quality.
Instead of those 8 each earning 2mil, give Lukaku & Eriksen each 8mil salary.
Juve has 28 Superstars?? --It's still a game of 11 VS 11 so without incredible injuries the gap shortens tremendously!

Roma did the opposite

"Exchanged Alisson for Olsen"
on the 16th February, 2020 at 4:15pm
@Anonymous That is exactly why you can't be a Roma fan. Lazio will always be the enemy. We don't switch allegiance. Come rain or shine, we are Roma. Forza Roma!
on the 16th February, 2020 at 4:08pm
4. Roma continued to grow.
Without Inter & Milan, they prospered.
They were light years above Milanese clubs; Roma didn't have to sell their good players to them anymore & could even convince players to join their project instead of Inter's/ Milan's.
Even in CL their coefficient continued to improve --They went from fourth pot to second. Even reaching semi-finals!

Roma wasn't growing as fast as Juventus, but still
--There was no fear whatsover that they'll lose one of the 3 Serie A CL palces..
on the 16th February, 2020 at 3:36pm
3. Other clubs used that.
They knew Roma had to sell before certain date, so they got Salah, Pjanic, Radja, Manolas... at a discount.
Inter had the same problem, selling their talent on a cheap because of FFP.

Some other clubs "cheated". Milan spent over 200mil in one season & no one pointed that out!
Pallotta RIGHTLY complained. Why must Roma keep parameters while others don't?? This was no joke: Roma can't lose CL place & money it brings. They'd regress irreversibly..!
on the 16th February, 2020 at 3:21pm
2. So Roma had to keep their balance in check & build their revenue (better sponsors, kits, stadium...)
--Every July, because of FFP, they HAD TO SELL players to keep right parameters...
When these were reached, they again went into "minus" to buy proper replacements -- knowing, that next July, they'll have to sell again because of this.

It was a circle, Sell-Buy-GROW:
Sell Marquinhos, buy Benatia.
Sell Benatia, buy Manolas.
Sell Manolas, take Smalling...

They were slowly getting out of FFP...
on the 16th February, 2020 at 3:03pm
For those of you who are not following Roma, here's a quick recap of Pallotta's Roma:

1. James is a businissman.
He doesn't know anything about football, so he hired the best professionals he could find (fitness trainers, talent scouts...) & consultants with great resumes.
He gave these people full control, trust & time (only pressed them when their methods were clearly not working, usually months too late!)

James is professional, his lawyers took FIFA FAIR PLAY seriously...
on the 16th February, 2020 at 2:45pm
Losing 2-1 in Bergamo isn't a huge deal.
--Milan received 5 goals.
--Juventus were outplayed here for 80 minutes & only managed to win with controversy.
--Inter in MILANO can thank ref (Lautaro's NFL tackle) & Handa (saved penalty) for a draw.

Losing against Sassoulo, Bologna, Torino, this horrible/ disappointing Juve side in ROME...
...all while playing horrible, second-rate football is ALARMING.
(Lazio is surely regretting their stupid counter-attacking approach against this weak Roma now!)
on the 16th February, 2020 at 2:09pm
Roma's season is falling apart. Really sad as it's their fans I feel sorry for. Must be hard seeing their neighbours doing so well and picking up trophies, whilst they have mercenaries on big money doing nothing. If I was a Roma fan I'd really consider switching allegiances to Lazio...
on the 16th February, 2020 at 1:13pm

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