Former Roma manager Eusebio Di Francesco for the first time in years dedicated a lengthy interview to his time at Roma, addressing his own fall from grace as the Italian technician went from leading the Giallorossi to a Champions League semifinal in 2018 to getting three consecutive sacks at Sampdoria, Cagliari and Verona.
“When, as in my case, a coach does not do well in less than thirty games – between Sampdoria, Cagliari and Verona – it is also because he has not had the opportunity to develop a suitable project,” he explained in an interview La Gazzetta dello Sport.
“However, I do not run away from my responsibilities. Among other things, it was said that I was tied to money, instead I tell you that at Sampdoria – where I wanted to leave already on the second match-day because I did not agree with the management’s choices – there was talk of exemption, while I terminated my contract, leaving almost two years worth of salary on the table.”
“I did the same in Cagliari, because the projects we agreed upon were not respected: I had a €3 million termination clause removed. I like to work with the right people.”
On his adventure at Roma ending in 2018/19, Di Francesco commented, “Let’s say there is a bit of regret on my part. I hold no grudges, I just want to get back into the game.”
“After all, I also led Sassuolo to the Europa League in 2015/16. Returning to the Champions League with the Giallorossi, the remuntada with Barcelona was born in the span of a week. The European mentality is what I like.”
When asked about his acceptance of Ramon Monchi’s transfer business, “I am used to working with what I have, although sometimes it can be wrong. I did not agree with that transfer market. But, for example, I was the one who launched Zaniolo when most clubs didn’t even want him on loan.”
“Instead I made him debut with Real Madrid to make him understand that I believed in him. A bit like I did with Berardi.”
“Let me tell you a story from behind the scenes,” he said. “When the deal for Malcom collapsed in 2018, we asked Berardi to join us, but he told us ‘I don’t want to be a back-up player.’ See, he’s not only a great kid. He’s got balls.”
On the falling out with former sporting director Ramon Monchi, “Of course, in the second year the relationship changed. Something had worn out and I stepped aside a bit, instead I should have insisted with my own ideas.”
“After the Champions League semifinal, I shouldn’t have accepted the transfers that followed. I told the management about it, but I did not allow myself to say it publicly. In this Mourinho is great. But believe me, I’ll try to improve on that too.”
“The Friedkins? I enjoyed the Conference League victory and I liked the market that followed it. It was done intelligently.”
“Roma are well built in terms of tactical identity. With Atalanta they didn’t deserve to lose. The best thing is the enthusiasm that has been recreated among supporters. The packed Olimpico is a big push.”
“Even when the team makes mistakes, the supporters continue to cheer them on. Before, if you lost it was a tragedy, now we talk about it positively, which is good for the team.”