Fonseca ahead of Atalanta clash: “We expect a difficult match. Smalling will play”.

John Solano

Roma boss Paulo Fonseca held his pre-match press conference today ahead of the Giallorossi’s clash tomorrow against Atalanta at the Stadio Olimpico. These are his words:

What sort of match do you expect tomorrow?
We expect a very difficult match, they’re an opponent with specific characteristics, a team that fights and is agressive in defence and they have quality player. We expect a hard fought match.

Enthusiasm is growing, but do you feel the need to keep your feet on the ground?
As I always repeat, the important thing is to stay balanced, the past does not matter, we’re only think about the next match — we have to stay humble. It’s too early to get excited, there’s still a lot to do, to win, and conquer. I hope the team stays firmly on the ground.

There’s six players who have all started from the first minute: among them is Kluivert. Since he has different characteristics, is he the type of player you need?
Regarding tomorrow’s choices, you will see tomorrow, I will make some changes. But all the players are important, no one is above the team, I make choices based on what is best for the team and for the match. Roma is above all, thankfully I have options in attack.

Is Smalling ready to play from the first minute?
I will answer this right away: Smalling will play.

Regarding Pau Lopez, last year Roma had a problem with the goalkeeper role and made an important investment this summer. What still has to improve? And did you expect him to be so ready?
I must confess that on the technical details, Marco Savorani is the most suitable to answer, but when we chose him, we evaluated his characteristics, not many goalkeepers can start the play like him, he is balanced and helps the team in the construction of our play. Then there’s other things such as his save against Bologna. I’m satisfied with Lopez, who has the ability to take advantage of one of the best goalkeeping coaches in the world. He can still improve.

You’re unbeaten in the league, who was the one that strongly wanted you here?
I understand that in moments like this, euphoria and enthusiasm builds — but I’m against that…at least at this stage. It’s right to celebrate when you win a trophy, but I analyse things with realism. We’ve won three matches, we’re growing but tomorrow is a new and difficult match ahead of us. The reality is we’ve done nothing. It’s nice that people believe in us but we have to stop and take each match with a sense of realism. The season is a marathon and we’re only at the beginning, we started on the right foot but we can’t afford to relax. We are committed to making sure that there are no deviations from this team. As for my arrival, it’s well-known Petrachi and Fienga are the ones I always dealt with.

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MatchDay 33
22 Apr 18:30