Roma manager Paulo Fonseca discussed the Giallorossi’s upcoming Europa League fixture tomorrow against his former side, Braga, whom he managed from 2015 until 2016.
Speaking to UEFA.com, the 47 year-old was complimentary of the Portuguese club and stated that his memories from the club are positive.
“I have wonderful memories (from Braga) and it’s simply not down to what we achieved on the field,” asserted Fonseca.
“Beyond the trophy that we won (Taça de Portugal), it was about the relationships that were built at the club. I have no words to describe what I feel for these people and what I feel for Braga. It’s going to be a tough game for us, but it will be nice to see some old friends and greet a club and place where I was so happy.”
The Giallorossi will face Braga tomorrow evening for the first of two legs and although he is confident in his team, Fonseca was adamant that the Europa League presents an incredibly difficult test.
“This competition is incredibly difficult, I like to refer to it as a ‘mini Champions League’ because there are excellent teams involved. We had a good group phase, but that’s in the past – now we’re reached the knockout round and we’re going up against a strong team. We’ll have to perform well in both legs.”
“Roma’s an ambitious club that’s getting closer and closer to winning titles, which is something that hasn’t been done regularly over the years. Nothing would satisfy me more than to win a title for the Roma supporters, who are absolutely wonderful and possess so much passion for their club. We’ve got to keep our feet on the ground, though, it’s impossible to predict who will the Europa League.”
He added, “There are so many top clubs in the Europa league, it’s difficult to predict a winner right now. But we’ll do everything we can to be the winning side, but our only focus is on Braga, right now.”
Moving away from tomorrow’s game, Fonseca was asked about his first eighteen months in the Italian capital, where he arrived in the summer of 2019 from Shakhtar Donetsk.
“Being a coach in Italy is challenging and is very different than what I expect,” he admitted. “Eighteen months later, though, i can safely say that we’ve developed an identity as a team.”
“The players are more ambitious and I feel that, as a manager, I’ve perfected my techniques when it comes to training daily in Italy. I feel that the team has progressed since I arrived and I feel that we’re much stronger now.”