The Rome Derby is one of the longest-running rivalries in Italian football. Started more than 90 years ago, this clash has seen Roma and Lazio meet in 175 (official) matches, with Roma currently in the lead with 65 (official) victories.
For the last couple of seasons, though, fortune seems to have turned away from the Giallorossi when up against their crosstown rivals. After both meetings between the sides ended in draws last season, Roma were hammered by the Biancocelesti by 3-0 less than two weeks ago.
Their Derby defeat was followed up by a pitiful showing in their shock Coppa Italia exit at home against relegation candidates Spezia in a match that may be remembered for things other than the final score.
Manager Paulo Fonseca used an extra substitute in the match, which resulted in the league’s ruling body overturning the losing result from a scoreline of 2-4 to 0-3. It was a humiliating mistake that saw many supporters calling for the club to find a replacement for the bench.
Even though Roma responded well in their league rematch on Sunday against Spezia by winning 4-3, the pressure on Fonseca continues to increase due to his team’s inconsistent play and his poor record against the big teams in Serie A.
A coach under fire
Paulo Fonseca has received his share of criticism, but it’s not only the supporters that are beginning to question him.
Roma’s owners, Dan and Ryan Friedkin, recently met with the Portuguese tactician along with the club’s upper management immediately following their Coppa Italia exit — a competition that the team believed they had a chance to win this season.
The American duo has been left disappointed by the team’s recent performances and they’ve made it clear that their intention is to win while building a sustainable project in the Italian capital.
Given the recent form of the club coupled with their winning ambitions, the Friedkin’s could look to move on from Fonseca, whose contract expires at the end of the season. However, should he manage to guide Roma into a Champions League place, it would trigger an automatic one-year extension.
Who may replace him?
Trying to predict who the next coach may be is a lot like a game of roulette at an online casino. There are forces at work that most people don’t understand, and there’s no way to anticipate exactly why the ball will land. This makes playing at the Spin Casino an exciting and thrilling experience. When it comes to your favourite team, though, the uncertainty is far less desirable. Yet this is what may follow in the coming weeks: if Fonseca doesn’t succeed in turning the Giallorossi’s performance around in the upcoming games, his days with the team may well be numbered.
This is not the first time the shadow of sacking looms above Fonseca, though. Former Juve boss Max Allegri has long been linked as the favorite to replace the former Shakhtar Donetsk boss following his resignation at the helm in Turin. Rumors even emerged late in the summer that the Friedkin’s who officially acquired the club in August 2020, could look to send an ambitious signal by appointing Allegri as the new manager.