Roma boss Paulo Fonseca held his pre-match press conference today ahead of tomorrow’s showdown in the Italian capital against Milan. Here’s what he had to say before the match:
Based on the game against Borussia, could we see Gianluca Mancini in that position once again against Milan?
Yes, it’s possible, particularly as we don’t have many alternatives at the moment. He played well and there’s no need to make any changes in that regard.
Do you fear tiredness is running through the squad given the number of injuries and suspensions?
Yes, I’ll go beyond that. The statistics show that we covered the most ground in our game against Borussia and played with high intensity on a heavy pitch. My aim now is to help the players get back to full fitness to face a Milan side that didn’t play in midweek.
The defence has been doing very well. Are you considering the possibility of moving Alessandro Florenzi forward to play as a winger?
At the moment I’m considering all options, given the reduced size of the squad. I’m not ruling anything out in that position.
How are Javier Pastore and Diego Perotti doing, considering that Roma are playing every three days?
Perotti has been training with us for a while. He’s ready to play, but I don’t know if he’ll last the 90 minutes. As for Pastore, with the games coming thick and fast at the moment, it’s not been possible to do much rotation. It’s true that he’s played more than he normally would, but we can’t afford to make too many changes.
Will the players who you are looking at be useful squad reinforcements?
I don’t want to talk about that sort of topic. I’ll only speak about a player if he’s part of the squad. If there’s any news, we’ll tell you about it. Right now, I’m fully focused on tomorrow’s game against Milan.
What’s the latest on Cengiz Under and Henrikh Mkhitaryan?
Miki hasn’t resumed training with us yet. Cengiz will join up with the group today. He won’t be ready for tomorrow, but will be available for the following game.
What have you made of Daniel Fuzato’s international call-up, considering he hasn’t played?
I must admit that the call-up was a fantastic surprise for all of us. Of course, it’s also down to the Brazil national team to know how a player is doing. I’ve previously spoken about the fine job that Marco Savorani has done as our goalkeeping coach. We’re proud of Fuzato for getting called up.
Will your defensive choices be based on the attacking players in the Milan team?
I don’t know who’ll play for them, but our defensive line-up won’t change based on their attack.
Did Jordan Veretout have more attacking licence against Borussia?
Playing Mancini in that part of the pitch gives Veretout more freedom to push up. That’s a normal situation and it’ll probably happen tomorrow as well.
How are the players mentally after the game on Thursday?
The team is doing well. You can’t change the past and so we just need to think about the next game with the right state of mind. We can’t influence certain things. It was a tough and unhappy evening for us in terms of the refereeing, but now we must turn our attention to Milan.
During the week, Fabio Capello advised Mauro Esposito not to follow in Nicolo Zaniolo’s footsteps. What do you make of that?
I haven’t seen or heard what Capello said and I prefer not to comment on that. I’ll just say that here at Roma we all have huge belief in Zaniolo’s ability. He’s an extraordinary talent. Of course, he needs to keep working hard to further his development. I don’t know if there might have been external factors that could have had an influence on him. I just know that he’s always been exemplary in training ever since I’ve been here. He’s shown fantastic professionalism, has worked hard and showcased his dedication, which is what matters to us.
Edin Dzeko is an emblematic player in the dressing room. Do you think there could be a repeat of the scene in the summer when Florenzi gave him the captain’s armband?
I don’t think so. I believe that matter is completely closed and he hasn’t spoken to me about it. It was a noble gesture by Florenzi, but there was no further talk about it. Florenzi is the team captain and Dzeko is one of the other captains.
Your players often seem to get the final pass wrong. Do you think this is something you can work on in training?
It’s true that we’ve made mistakes in the final third. This is something we can work on in training, but we don’t have much time available at the moment. This is often linked to a lack of experience among very young players and is a normal process within their development. The ability to make the right choice at the right time comes with experience. This team can play good football and create openings, but we definitely have to be more accurate when making certain decisions. We worked on this during the international break and will have to do more of the same in the future when we get the chance.