Roma manager Paulo Fonseca was joined by defender Chris Smalling during today’s pre-match press conference ahead of tomorrow’s Europa League fixture between the Giallorossi and Belgian side Gent. Here’s what the duo had to say:
Are you more concerned about Gent or the current state of Roma?
I’m only worried about what we need to do to win the game. We had a good week of work, we have a game against a strong team. But this week we saw signs that the team is doing better and is better prepared.
There was talk that you had a face-to-face summit with the veterans. Is that true?
It is not true. Our relationship is the same as it was. During this period, it’s easier to invent things regarding the dressing room and the club. It’s not fair, we’re not going to hide — we’re here and we’ll speak honestly. We are here to speak in an open manner, but it’s unfair to invent things.
How’s Pellegrini doing? He’s going through a tough stretch.
There’s no need for excuses. He had an injury but he’s overcome that. The problem is the moment of the team and he’s one being asked to take responsibility. He must try to stay balanced and have the desire to change things quickly. We must all stay balance, Lorenzo included.
How is Diawara doing?
We are very optimistic, he started training with us two days ago. The signs are positive, I hope he continues to train with us day after day. After training, he told me he was fine, without pain. It is important, let’s see in the the next few days, but we are optimistic.
How do you handle these moments of pressure?
I talked about it with my assistant. I could talk about it for a long time. Here in Rome, there is an air of negativity that I don’t understand. If a coach does not want to be pressured, he cannot coach a team like Roma, a big team. This pressure exists at all clubs and it’s no issue for me. This is a simple situation for me: I can’t be here if I don’t want the pressure. It’s no excuse. For me, I’m ready for this level of pressure. When I don’t win, criticism increases — this happens here and at clubs throughout the world. I want to accept the pressure. However, here in Rome it’s used as an excuse: everyone says there’s a lot of pressure in Rome, however, for me, it’s not an excuse.
Who will play on the right: Santon or Bruno Peres? Carles Perez?
We’ll see tomorrow. Carles will play.
Have you already decided what your future holds?
I am honest, at the moment — I am focused only on the results and on the next games. I feel very good in Rome. I’m at ease in a beautiful city and with an exceptional fan base. I don’t want to discuss this and bring attention away from tomorrow’s match and the one on Sunday.
Did the negotiation between Pallotta and Friedkin affect you players?
I knew very little about it and not much is said about it in the dressing room. We’re only worried about things happening on the pitch.
Petrachi said you guys felt satisfied after the Lazio match. Is this so?
I honestly don’t think so. It was an excellent performance, but it was a draw and we lost two points despite being the best team on the pitch. We have to improve and bring a winning mentality, we haven’t won a trophy for a long time. We all know what it would mean to bring a trophy to a place like this.