Roma sporting director Monchi answered questions from fans today on the club’s official website. Here are his words:
How far can Roma go in the Champions League?
I think we should be ambitious and believe we can go as far as possible although obviously we have to keep our feet on the ground. Our first target must be to reach the knockout stages and after that we can start dreaming.
When do you think you’ll win a major trophy with Roma?
Hopefully as soon as possible! I’ve said that since the first day I arrived and it’s something I always have in my mind. I think about it when I go to bed and when I’m in my office. One day I want to make Roma fans’ dreams come true. That’s my guiding point, what drives me. I want Roma fans to be able to celebrate a trophy.
People always say Roma is a difficult place to work. Now that you’ve been here for a few months, do you agree or disagree with that?
Roma are a great club and Rome is a big city. Everything is magnified and the repercussions are felt a lot more here. Obviously that increases the pressure. I wasn’t surprised by anything when I joined. When I decided to come to Roma, I didn’t expect to find a club where everything is nice and calm. Pressure is part of the game. Expectations are part of the game. You have that at Roma but I think it’s a good thing. It’s good that we’re ambitious and it’s good that we’re under pressure from the fans and the media. It should motivate us to do better.
How important is it that Roma have kept key players such as Nainggolan, Strootman and De Rossi?
It’s not just Kevin, Radja and Daniele but players like Edin [Dzeko], Perotti and El Sharaawy too. Working the transfer market is not just buying and selling players. There’s a third side to it, which is being able to keep hold of your big players, the ones who can guide the new players coming in as well as those already at the club. That’s what we have with Radja, Kevin and Daniele. It was one of the targets I set myself when I first came to Roma and I’m happy to have succeeded.
Why didn’t you feel it was necessary to buy another centre-back given that Roma will be involved on three fronts this year?
We considered all our options and came to the conclusion that the five centre-backs we have in our squad – Leandro Castan, Kostas Manolas, Juan Jesus, Federico Fazio and Hector Moreno – provide enough cover for the three competitions we’re in. I’ve said before that you can always improve your squad but considering the circumstances, the financial and the football aspects, and the number of players we have in our squad, we felt we’re well covered to cope with three competitions.
Why did you sign [Rick] Karsdorp if you knew about his knee injury?
Obviously we knew about Rick’s situation and his injury and we knew that from a medical point of view he could recover in around four weeks plus another two or three before resuming full training. I don’t think four, six or even eight weeks are a long time over a five-year contract. We believe a lot in Karsdorp and fortunately he’ll be available to the coach again next week so I’m happy about that.
Why did you buy Defrel – a centre forward – and then sign another centre forward in Schick, basically wasting €23 million?
With all due respect to the person who wrote this, I don’t think ‘waste’ is quite the right word. I think you have to look at it differently. We should be happy to have Defrel, Patrik and Edin in our squad. They can play in different positions, especially Patrik and Defrel. Personally I’m very happy that we have three such good players in our squad. Defrel offers lots of different things. We’ve already said that Patrik is a hugely important player for our present and future. Edin was a key player last season and will be again this year. So getting back to the question, I don’t think it was a waste of money and I think we’re lucky to have such top-quality players.