Saturday July 18 2020
Fonseca: 'No problem with Zaniolo'

Roma coach Paulo Fonseca assures there is ‘no problem’ with Nicolò Zaniolo after a public telling off, explaining some of his choices against Inter tomorrow.

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“Chris Smalling only returned to training yesterday, so we’ll see how he feels,” explained the coach in his press conference.

“Lorenzo Pellegrini is in good shape and will play tomorrow. The team is doing quite well, so I don’t want to make too many changes. Cengiz Under and Justin Kluivert are training well, but I can only use 11 players at a time. They will get their chance.

“With our current system, we need a more attacking wing-back like Bruno Peres, who is more effective in the final third, which is why he has played more than Davide Zappacosta lately.

“I thought Aleksandar Kolarov had a great game in the back three and I think he can play there consistently. He already did it for Manchester City, so can be far more consistent there.”

Fonseca raised eyebrows after the 2-1 win over Hellas Verona when he said Gianluca Mancini was right to criticise Zaniolo for his attitude on the pitch.

“I am a very direct person, so when I see a situation I don’t like, I can’t stay silent. These are normal situations in football, there is no problem with him or his teammates.

“I spoke to Nicolò after the game and it’s all perfectly fine.”

Roma are currently in fifth place, but with Napoli and Milan looming right behind them. As they have not yet beaten one of the teams above them in the table this season, can Inter break that drought?

“It’s true that we didn’t win, but we did put in good performances and created plenty of chances. We came very close to winning a few of them,” insisted Fonseca.

“We’ve got to push forward as much as possible and not defend deep. I know Inter well, Antonio Conte is an excellent coach, and we are working on the situations that we studied. Whether Romelu Lukaku starts or not tomorrow will make no difference.”