Tuesday June 16 2020
Fonseca: 'Roma can reach the Champions League'

Roma coach Paulo Fonseca has claimed the Giallorossi ‘can’t give up’ on the Champions League and revealed Serie A ‘surprised him in a positive sense’.

The Giallorossi coach had led his team to fifth in Serie A before the interruption and is slightly concerned ahead of the resumption, seeing the numbers of injuries to players and lack of intensity.

“It will be more difficult than usual when we start again,” he told Publico. “There are no matches to prepare us, that scenario will have to be created among us and it’s not the same thing.

“We have seen that the intensity is not the same, nor can it be. There have been a host of injuries in the German League and many injuries in this preparation period.

“We will play every three days; it will be very demanding, and this causes concern.”

But the Portuguese coach has not given up on a place in the Champions League next term and hopes to qualify by finishing in the top four.

“We can still qualify for the Champions League. The other four teams are very strong. Atalanta, our main rival, are certainly a great team, but we must not give up.

“This year, the Italian championship is unpredictable, more than in recent years.”

The 47-year-old arrived from Shakhtar Donetsk last summer and had previously only coached in his homeland, but his perception of Italian football changed during his first months in Rome.

“I was surprised by my first experience in Italian football. In a positive sense. The quality of the players, the coaches, but the quality of the football.

“The idea we have of Italy with a defensive league doesn’t correspond to reality. They have very good teams and are well prepared when they have to defend, but I must say that during the quarantine period I went to see the number of goals in the main European Leagues and we were only beaten by England.

“This speaks volumes. The truth is that Italian coaches work a lot of work on the defensive point of view, more than in any other league. It’s true that they are very strong too, and the teams have no problem going on the pitch to defend.

“They do it very well.”

Roma return to action against Sampdoria on June 24 and are currently on an unbeaten run of four games, including a 2-1 aggregate win against KAA Gent in the last 32 of the Europa League.

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