Friday August 7 2020
Roma to be reborn after Sevilla thrashing

Jim Pallotta’s era ends with a whimper against Sevilla, but at least new owner Dan Friedkin knows what he has to do at Roma, writes Owen Diana.

As one door closes for Roma, a new one opens. A marathon 2019-20 campaign came to a disappointing conclusion with a 2-0 defeat to Sevilla in Duisburg, but the club’s sale to American billionaire Dan Friedkin under 24 hours before kick-off brings hope for a brighter future. However, a meek capitulation to the Andalusians highlighted the current gulf in class between the Giallorossi and Europe’s best.

A Round of 16 meeting against the Europa League kings always promised to be difficult. The Spaniards impressed on the way to fourth place in La Liga, with former flame Monchi again proving his knack for unearthing hidden gems in the shape of Diego Carlos, Jules Kounde and ex-Milan man Lucas Ocampos.

Yet, Roma had reason to be optimistic. They came into the tie in red-hot form, with seven wins and a draw from their last eight Serie A contests. While Paulo Fonseca’s charges had found an encouraging rhythm, almost three weeks had passed since Sevilla’s last competitive match.

In reality, the Spanish side’s extra rest proved a huge advantage. Roma looked lethargic and were unable to handle the effervescence of opposing full-backs Sergio Reguilon and Jesus Navas. The relentless Sevilla pressure pinned the Giallorossi deep in their own end for much of the first half, forcing even Eden Dzeko to defend desperately at times.

Nevertheless, Spanish sprightliness was not the root cause of a loss that could have easily been a blowout. Damningly for Fonseca, there was a worrying tactical naivete on display. Reguilon’s regal opener started from the umpteenth switch of play from right to left in the opening stages. Sevilla’s execution was magnificent, but the Real Madrid loanee should have never been afforded so much space to charge into. Furthermore, the domineering Kounde continually popped up unmarked from set pieces, even after striking the crossbar with a towering header early on.

Tightening up defensively is a must for Roma to progress, but they must also focus on banishing their inferiority complex against elite teams. The Giallorossi did not collect a single victory against Serie A’s top four in 2019-20 (until a Juventus side packed with kids and wearing flip-flops), while the holder of La Liga’s last Champions League spot wiped the floor with them. Just a few short years ago, the Romans nearly reached the final of that very competition.

Although their pitiful recent record against the cream of the crop represents a steep comedown from those heroic exploits, this season’s big-match failures inject an important dose of realism before the beginning of Friedkin’s reign. The Toyota tycoon will not be under immediate pressure to turn his new acquisition into world-beaters, affording him time to bed in while pushing ahead with the construction of the long-awaited Stadio della Roma.

The club could ultimately benefit from a change in ownership after James Pallotta became a lightning rod for fan unrest. The most important thing will be a transformation of their transfer strategy, no longer forced to sell star players every single summer. Even Chris Smalling could now return, and it was evident how much he was missed against Sevilla.

Meanwhile, it seems Fonseca will be given a chance to correct the mistakes made during his introductory course in Italian football. Another year outside the Champions League will hurt, but the stage is set for Roma to get back there soon.

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Have your say...

No offense, but you should familiarise yourself with the "to-be" grammatical structure in English; no one said that they are reborn now. It's a future tense. And with that in mind, the article actually makes sense.
on the 11th August, 2020 at 6:39pm
Also, I know alliteration is a go-to for journalists but can we please stop calling Roma reborn. They're a stagnating club that doesn't appear to be getting better and doesn't appear to be getting worse. With the takeover, who knows, but for now they most certainly are not reborn.
on the 8th August, 2020 at 2:31pm
Their performances in the second half of the season were solid, nothing spectacular. Just being solid doesn't win silverware. Invest, improve or set more realistic expectations. Simple as that.
on the 8th August, 2020 at 9:49am
Roma will never become a serious club until they stop selling promising young players. They often have solid seasons but they never build on them. It's a rebuilding season every season. Not good enough. Hopefully the new owners will do better.
on the 8th August, 2020 at 6:06am
There is PRACTICE/ TRAINING, where you focus on individual parts, movements, ideas...

And then, there is PERFORMANCE/ SHOW-TIME, where you put everything together.
Where you finally see the results & are surprised by the progress you've made!

One month of only training..? Spaniards were raring to go :)

(I also believe Monchi fired up his players. Probably promised to take them to Disneyland or something! LOL)
on the 8th August, 2020 at 12:03am
Roma can have Smalling and Sergio Ramos. Change tactics. Play at 21PM. 4AM...
Doesn't matter. Sevilla is in better form.

I can see Juve, Inter & especially Milan putting up a better fight than Roma.
But yesterday's Sevilla would beat them all.

Sevilla had 3 weeks to prepare --Trainings without interruptions.
Getafe as well & they shocked Inter in first 25 minutes! What would've happened if they'd scored a goal??
In end, Inter DESERVEDLY won. But imagine Getafe with Banega, Reguilon, Kounde.
on the 7th August, 2020 at 11:41pm
1. You must be one of those Milan fans that is living in clouds these days & are offended because you believe Milan would've beaten Sevilla 3-0. At lest 3-0! :)

I stand by what I said.
Roma "can" play Milan, Inter, Juve...
Against Sevilla it was a massacre --I hope people under 18 didn't watch as they'll be scarred for life!
Sevilla totally dominated, degraded Roma EVERY SECOND of the game.

I never said Roma is better than Sevilla. You did! HAHAHA
Look bellow, "Anonymous" :)
on the 7th August, 2020 at 11:15pm
i was giving fonsesca the benefit of the doubt however after that display against sevilla i question his player choices and tactics. individually the two teams are comparable but sevilla utterly out played roma in every department before that 1st goal they had 69% possession.

still you can't put all on the coach the way this team was been progressively downgraded through absurd transfer decisions would make it challenging no matter who the coach was.
on the 7th August, 2020 at 8:28pm
@United States of Totti... How is Roma bigger than Sevilla? Sevilla has 5 Europa Leagues and Roma doesn't even know what it is to win something at European level. Also, the way you came to the conclusion that any Serie A club would've lost against Sevilla is absurd. What does the Getafe game against Inter have anything to with yesterday's match? Completely different teams and completely different styles. But go on, keep doing your mental gymnastics.
on the 7th August, 2020 at 7:27pm
I had to turn off the game after 15 minutes, couldn't bear to watch further. I knew exactly what the result was going to be. A team can't continually sell off top talent.
on the 7th August, 2020 at 7:18pm
PS: After watching EL games, I fear Juve will 80% crash out as well.

It depends on rested Lyon.
If they come to defend, Juve superstars can score...
But if Lyon comes guns blazing from first minute (like Atalanta/ Sevilla /Getafe did), Juve is in trouble, especially already being a goal down.

Atalanta is evidently in decline. They also really miss JoJo, the Wizard...
But at least they are PHYSICALLY on level of European clubs.
Trainings/ mentality in Italy need to change! LOOK UP TO ATALANTA!
on the 7th August, 2020 at 5:31pm
This season, Roma against:
LAZIO - should've lost one & won one.
INTER - should've lost one & won one.
ATALANTA - lost both deservedly (while Juve, Inter, Lazio tied Dea when they should't have!)
JUVE - lost one & won meaningless one, (where Roma ALSO played with reserves & no need to win that game!)

Roma also won/ lost against Milan & Napoli...

As soon as I saw how fresh GETAFE played against Inter, I knew Roma would lose 3-0.
on the 7th August, 2020 at 5:08pm
The new Friedkin group has plenty of money to spend and know they are buying a team in a great city and elite market. Can they manuever the Italian beauracracy and possibly build a new stadium? Can they choose the right management to build a competitive Italian and European team that can compare to Juventus and Milan(both).
These are the difficult tasks but Rome has a tremendous fan base that has been yearning for success.The last scudetto title was 2001 and Coppa Italia in 2007.
Time will tell.
on the 7th August, 2020 at 3:47pm
Sadly Roma could not compete with a fresh Sevilla team, their fatigue from playing so many games this month showed while Sevilla rested for 3 weeks.
Furthermore Fonseca chose to go toe to toe with Sevilla trying to match their attack with his own and not playing a more patient defensive game in the first half. They paid the price as Lopetegui has his team ready to go. Lopetegui is an experienced coach who can get the best from his team. No, they aren't the giants of La Liga but tactically ready
on the 7th August, 2020 at 3:32pm
Inferiority complex ??!!
what do you mean? Roma are bigger team than Sevilla.
Roma played good games against inter, beat Juve, etc so if you say inferiority complex against elite teams, i DO NOT agree... in case of BArcelona or Real Madrid, maybe yes. But this is only sevilla !
on the 7th August, 2020 at 1:28pm
We actually beated Juventus i round 38, but I realise where you are going. It was a blowout, not on the board, but on the field and in reality. We were outclassed, and unfortunally we were also outclassed from a coach aspekt. Everyone knew how Sevilla is attacking, out from the wings and anyway we go for three at the back. I know, we don’t have a right back, but Spinazzola could play there. Christante sucked as usual and Dzeko, was undressed and was the usual statue he is vs. better opponents.
on the 7th August, 2020 at 11:13am
Roma actually beat Juventus on the last day of the season so they did collect 'a single victory'... Not that this detracts from your point.
on the 7th August, 2020 at 10:06am

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