Roma boss Paulo Fonseca held his pre-match press conference today ahead of tomorrow’s Derby clash against Lazio. These are his words:
What does the Derby mean to you?
I’ve already played in several derbies in my life. I understand that this is a special match for the fans and for the city. You feel it beyond the stadium and throughout the city and in the streets. It is a match that is worth three points. I can’t wait to play.
It’s the first training session for Smalling. What can this player give to Roma’s defence?
We were looking for an experienced player, an experienced central defender. He has more than 200 appearances with United and his features fit our team. He is fast and aggressive, he can add quality to our roster.
Are Mancini and Zappacosta ready to start? Will Smalling be called up?
Mancini and Zappacosta are ready, they could play, tomorrow you will find out. Smalling will be among those called up.
Could Florenzi play on the wing?
Yes. It is a hypothesis we are considering, we worked on it during the week. Let’s see if I will opt for this solution.
Yesterday, Smalling said he was struck by the conversation with you. What did you say to convince him?
It seems like he likes my voice (laughs). In reality, these conversations explain our way of playing and how we intend to include a person in our team because we consider them important. We try to convey the reason for our choice.
Could Veretout start from the first minute?
Yes, he too could start. Tomorrow you will find out, he is as ready as is Mancini and all the others except for Spinazzola and Perotti.
Lazio seems to be the favorite.
It’s all just talk right now. The pitch is what matters. Lazio is very strong, they have great players and a well-established system of play. For us managers, it doesn’t matter who the favorite is: it must be demonstrated on the pitch.
Does Veretout fit better with Cristante or Pellegrini?
All of our midfielders can play alongside each other: it doesn’t matter if he plays alongside Cristante, Diawara or Pellegrini.
Will Schick be in the squad?
Schick is here with us and will be called up for tomorrow. He’s ready to play, I won’t talk about hypothetical situations.
Juan Jesus apologised for the mistakes against Genoa and he received a lot of mean comments. How’s he doing?
He’s alright. He better be OK because in football, nobody is error-free. Football is a sport for strong people, there is no space for those who do not have the strength to react. My players must react in times of adversity. For me, there are no singular mistakes, the errors are always of the team and the one who is most responsible is me. You will never hear me publicly pointing a finger at a single person. The player must be mentally strong. In the last match against Genoa, the problem was a collective one.