Tuesday October 20 2020
Roma’s victory fails to hide identity crisis

Despite having secured back-to-back wins in Serie A, Steve Mitchell believes Roma still face an identity crisis.

The Giallorossi started a run of seven matches in just over three weeks with a 5-2 win at the Stadio Olimpico against newly-promoted Benevento on Sunday evening.

All is still not well behind the scenes at Trigoria however, with coach Paulo Fonseca using the International break to criticise the club’s summer transfer window which saw the them fail to bring in Polish striker Arek Milik and miss out on other primary targets, as well as bidding farewell to club stalwart Alessandro Florenzi. The fact that Roma are still searching for a new director of sport after the departure of Gianluca Petrachi has not helped the situation and with the imposing figure of new owner Dan Friedkin lurking in the background, Fonseca knows that his job is far from secure.

The new patron has emphasised that the Giallorossi will focus on developing young talent, but if a clear sign was needed that coach and owner are not quite operating on the same wavelength, then the successful pursuit to bring centre-back Chris Smalling back to the capital is proof that Fonseca still requires a squad which mixes a blend of youth with experience.

Smalling’s injury in training last week which could keep him sidelined for a couple of weeks was a bitter blow for the Portuguese tactician, who watched on in frustration on Sunday as his young centre-back pairing of Gianluca Mancini and Roger Ibañez looked out of sorts and out of sync as Benevento raced into an early lead. The fact that Fonseca preferred to play with a back-four rather than a back-three meaning another watching brief for new signing Marash Kumbulla, was testament to how highly he rates the former Manchester United and England star.

As the new President sat unmoved in the VIP area, it was somewhat ironic that it was Roma’s senior citizens that dragged the Giallorossi back into the contest. Summer acquisition Pedro (who pulled Roma level) has looked sharp since his arrival at Trigoria and the decorated Spaniard, along with Henrik Mkhitaryan, dovetailed nicely behind striker Edin Dzeko who claimed another brace to take his total for the club to 108. One has to applaud the Bosnian international’s attitude in recent weeks, after seeing a summer move to Juventus collapse the big striker has preferred to get on with the business in hand rather than dwell on what might have been.

The absence of Nicolo Zaniolo, who damaged his ACL for a second time representing his country, has been keenly felt in the midfield, but there are clear signs that young Spanish playmaker Carles Pérez may be able to fill the huge void left by the Italian starlet. The 22-year-old came on late on Sunday night to score a brilliant individual goal which the Italian press are claiming was as good as anything Lionel Messi has produced in his distinguished career.

Stiffer challenges now lay ahead starting with Thursday’s trip to Bern to face Young Boys in the Europa League group stages before a trip to the Giuseppe Meazza to face table toppers Milan four days later. The next few weeks will give a clearer indication as to whether Friedkin will stick with his current manager or opt to try to tempt someone of the pedigree of Massimiliano Allegri back to Serie A. Just like many of his predecessors, Fonseca is discovering that working in the Italian capital can be both intoxicating and suffocating.


Have your say...
This team is "pazzo' , so hard to wrap your head around this squad. At times exciting and high energy, at times open and indefensible. I used to think that Fonseca couldn't handle Serie A tactically but with the team he has been given he has found his way. Pedro makes a big difference for Roma, in the past when Benevento came back Roma would have folded, no longer. The front line has fresh leadership and they know how to score. As players return Roma will be a competetive force in Serie A.
on the 22nd October, 2020 at 1:33pm
Fonseca puts too much trust on individuals to win the game for him. The only match so far this season he had a clear game plan was against juve. But I believe he is learning and I hope he can improve. Roma will surprise many people this season. Daje Roma
on the 21st October, 2020 at 8:02am
They have lost something with De Rossi, Totti & now Florenzi all leaving. Poor Zaniolo is a big miss too. El Sha would've been key! But they've got potential. Kumbulla was a great signing, Smalling, Pedro & Mayoral were shrewd moves as well. They've still got Dzeko & Pellegrini so the coach has something to build on & I don't feel they'll offload star men & panic buy as readily as before. The new owners seem to have a solid plan. I see Roma as a club that is growing rather than standing still!
on the 20th October, 2020 at 10:32pm
I still can't forget how bad Fonseca made Roma look against Sevilla. I think Roma looked pretty bad in patches against Benevento too. They won in spite of Fonseca rather than because of him. That said, Roma haven't hqd a decent manager since the early 2000s. Or maybe its just Roma. Hard to tell. I see the team as competitive, but top 4 is a mighty hard task these days. MAYBE possible if the pick up a keeper (Cragno) and decent RB (???) in January.
on the 20th October, 2020 at 3:23pm
'Doom & Gloom' article.

Pedro will be the signing of the season for us. Cost nothing and will score over 10 goals this season, hopefully, 15+.

Once Zaniolo is back (next March/April) and Smalling is fit again we will really get to this Roma tick but for Zaniolo the season will be as good as over by then.

We could have been sitting higher in the table if it wasn't for the Diowara disaster which lost us a point and our draw with Juve hurt because we could have won that game.

Give us time!
on the 20th October, 2020 at 12:33pm

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