Ex-Roma manager Paulo Fonseca touches upon his time in the capital

Andy Mattioli

Former Roma manager Paulo Fonseca finally opened up (briefly) about his two years in the Italian capital. After leaving the Giallorossi, the Portuguese technician was close to joining Tottenham but talks collapsed once ex-Juve director Fabio Paratici stepped in.

Fonseca was recently interviewed by La Repubblica where he spoke of the Italian national team, wanting Barella at Roma in 2019, and working with two different sporting directors at Trigoria.

On the Italian national team:

“What impressed me the most in Italy is the mentality of Italian footballers.”

“It is what helped them win the Euro: you could see it from the qualifications, I had told my friends that Italy was among the favorites. And from the very first games I was convinced that they would win.”

“Italy also has very high technical qualities. Take Barella, for example: I would have liked him at Roma, I even spoke to him a couple of times on the phone, to try to convince him.”

“Mancini has been able to build a great team on this quality, something that is not easily achieved, others have great talents but they are not a team.”

On whether managers still hold decision-making power in a club:

“We are losing influence when it comes to the choice of players. Obviously there are clubs that are more open to experimenting, but I know many where only the clubs decide, often for non-technical reasons.”

On Serie A:

“The level of Serie A is similar to the level of the Premier League or La Liga. In England the pace is much higher, but it is not a physical issue: there the games are more open and we run more.”

“The Italian league is not a defensive league, but it is the one in which it defends itself best. Each game is different, it forces you to work a lot on strategy.”

On his favorite coaches:

“Guardiola is an inspiration, I also really like Tuchel. In Italy I have always admired Sarri, as well as Gasperini, incredibly good but very different from me, and Italian, but the one who struck me the most is De Zerbi: he would have deserved more attention from the Italian teams.”

On whether he felt alone working at Roma:

“First Petrachi and then Pinto were my allies.”

“But I experienced perhaps the most difficult moment of the last 15 years of Roma, with the ownership transition and yes, I was on my own.”

“I told my daughter, who interviewed me for school, that Rome is the most beautiful place in the world. I loved walking around it, living near the center, seeing every corner, breathing its atmosphere.”

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MatchDay 32
14 Apr 18:00