Monday April 5 2021
Fonseca flounders in the Eternal City

Roma are reeling ahead of their crucial Europa League quarterfinal clash, and Owen Diana believes that only continental glory can save the Portuguese boss.

The winds of managerial change are gathering steam in the Italian Capital. Paulo Fonseca is under pressure after a poor recent run in Serie A, and the first trophy since 2008 is a must if the former Shakhtar strategist hopes to hold onto his job.

La Lupa are still in with a chance of completing that arduous task, but their path to Gdansk is anything but easy. Dutch champions Ajax, whose last loss came on December 9, stand between them and a semifinal spot. English giants Manchester United lie in wait if that tricky tie can be navigated. Meanwhile, Arsenal and Unai Emery’s Villarreal are on the other side of the draw.

Successfully negotiating that gauntlet is a tall order, especially considering the Giallorossi’s struggles against the big boys domestically. That has been the major knock against Fonseca during his time in charge, and the recent 0-2 drubbing at the hands of Napoli only increased the sense that Roma shrink in the crunch contests.

Despite those continued problems against the Peninsula’s premier outfits, a top-four spot was still on the cards until just a few weeks ago. Tactical troubles have hurt the capital club’s cause in duels with the division’s lesser lights.

Since switching to a 3-4-3 formation at the tail end of last season, Fonseca has hardly deviated from a set-up that prizes possession and quick, fluid forward thrusts. Roma’s defensive deficiencies prompted a rethink ahead of the Braga bouts in February.

A more conservative outlook has been successful so far in Europe, particularly over both legs against Shakhtar. Despite that, a similar strategy flopped in Saturday’s stalemate against Sassuolo. La Lupa created plenty of chances on the break at the Mapei Stadium, but their decision to cede the ball and territory backfired badly at the other end.

Fonseca reportedly clashed with some players the day after. Although the Giallorossi denied the report, it is clear the Portuguese tactician is not anymore on good terms with a part of the dressing room, including Edin Dzeko.

In terms of tactics, no matter what the coach has tried to do during his tenure: a glut of goals conceded has been the result. Roma cannot seriously aspire to steady progress with such a wretched record at the back.

An injury crisis in that department of the pitch has not helped matters and the same is true of Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Dzeko and Pedro, who have all spent significant time on the treatment table.

Even with those enforced absences in mind, the Friedkins seem intent on replacing Fonseca.

Maurizio Sarri is currently the frontrunner and securing the Tuscan’s signature would represent a coup for the capital club. The ex-Juventus coach has ample Serie A experience, and his preference for a proactive style of play would delight a fanbase accustomed to free-flowing football.

The Giallorossi supporters have been treated to plenty of pretty passing patterns over the last two years, and that is not the only positive legacy that Fonseca will leave behind.

A young Italian core led by Lorenzo Pellegrini and Gianluca Mancini has flourished, and it will be the responsibility of the next man in charge to turn a squad teeming with precocious talents into title challengers.

Have your say...
It's MENTALITY problem, not squad problem.
and yes, partly i blame Fonseca for not being able to "rally" his squad in every match to be consistent. Second, we lack LEADER figures in the squad like Totti, De Rossi, Nainggolan, Strootman, who can burn the squad mentality every matches. Dzeko? nahhh, he is a good player BUT not a leader. He is way TOO SOFT. Pellegrini? still young!
Even if you have top class squads but low mentality, you won't be winning matches.
Mentality and determination!
on the 8th April, 2021 at 5:04am
Fonseca has flattered to deceive in my opinion and his time is up. His signings have been poor to say the least except Mkhi and Kumbulla. He allowed Under, Kluivert and Florenzi to leave and these 3 players are way better than the ones brought in to replace them. I mean Florenzi is first choice rb for Italy yet Fonseca prefers Bruno Peres and it looks like PSG will sign Florenzi permanently for a meagre 9millions. I would be happy with either Sarri or Allegri to take us forward.
on the 6th April, 2021 at 9:12pm
come on you have a transfer policy which has progressively ran down club for no real notable gain a debt burden which is rising and a youth academy which at best is used to rise capital. why is the coach being blame the management of club has failed utterly.

If it wasn't for the fore mentioned italian players we would be talking about roma demise. thankfully it seems at one person in management is capable of signing talented players
on the 6th April, 2021 at 7:24pm
Not much has changed. I also think that Pinto will turn into another Monchi. Allegri/Sarri and Sabatini would have been a better match. Sabatini made some fantastic signings and he also generated net revenue of €142.51 million for Roma in 5 years. If the Friedkins really do have a good project to offer they should go and get Allegri.
on the 6th April, 2021 at 6:38pm
I don't think Fonseca ever really knew what he was doing. He is yet another in the long list of Roma managers who is simply not good enough, neither tactically nor in terms of man management. I understand that he has had some injury woes, but his record against the top 6 or 7 has been abysmal. The ship is sinking. Again. Roma should go for an Italian this time. Allegri preferably and perhaps even Sarri. Gasp will not leave Atalanta for Roma in my opinion. We asked before and he said no.
on the 6th April, 2021 at 6:37pm
For people who keep saying Fonseca doesn't have the decent players to work with, let's have a look:
He ASKED for Smalling, Pedro, Perez, Mayoral, Ibanez, Kumbulla and Mkhitaryan. These are all his signings! He's the one that chose not to play Kluviert, Under and Florenzi.
Among the players he asked for, Smalling, Pedro, Mkhi, Kumbulla are on the injury list most of the time. Ibanez and Mayoral are very inconsistent, and Perez is a flop. Stop pretending he didn't have a say with this squad!
on the 6th April, 2021 at 5:58pm
I feel Fonseca has done a pretty decent job given the players at his disposable. Don't forget he's been without his most exciting player in Zaniolo all season and the big "names" in the squad (Dzeko, Pedro, Mhky) are all old and injury prone now. He also has no goal keeper. Personally I'd be giving him another season with some new signings but then again I can see Sarri fitting in well at Roma. I'd like to see Roma continue to add some quality Italians to go with the ones they already have
on the 6th April, 2021 at 8:49am
Ajax will be a tough tie, and the Dutch side are probably favourites given Roma's usual unsettled nature as a club and a pretty bad list of injuries all season.

All the teams left in the EL are much the same level, with the overrated MU very hot and cold.

Roma have a chance of winning the EL, but aren't one of the favs.

As with ALL Italian sides in Europe nowadays, they'll probably be found out.
on the 5th April, 2021 at 11:09pm
"MU lie in wait" in the semis lol? Don't they have to play a QF first? And they were 2nd-best against Milan's reserves.

Fonseca has done okay given the mess the club has become over the years, with a ridiculous revolving-door transfer policy.

A lot of the signings have been good, but I said at the time that Pastore and Nzonzi were awful buys, and so it's proved. 50m on them was a shocking decision. Nzonsi was nothing special, and Pastore has to be one of the most overrated players of al time
on the 5th April, 2021 at 11:06pm

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