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Totti Today #68: Right man, wrong timing

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I’ll keep this one short: Spalletti who says he’s ready for a return to Rome is like Jennifer Lawrence saying “yes I’d like to have sexual intercourse now” to you. Meaning: In both cases you should feel pretty damn excited. However, Roma must not get fooled, the focus should be strictly on BATE. For now.

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Docters & trains

We’re very close now. After each week there are more and more doubters and gray clouds gather above Rudi Garcia’s Eternal City. The yet again disappointing display, this time in Torino, didn’t help. But while a wind of change could just be what the doctor ordered, must Roma management take such a risk right before one of the most important games of the season? Qualification will bring in mucho’s money and would give our season a little more glance with Champions League football after New Year for the first time since 2011 (the double confrontation against Shaktar Donetsk).

If I knew bringing in a new trainer would automatically mean a win against BATE, I’d do it in a heartbeat, be it Ancelotti, Mazzarri, Di Francesco or even Aurelio Andreazzoli and Zeman. But that means the first test of the new coach is immediately a huge one with enormous pressure on the team and nervosity among the tifosi. Start with a win and the train will be firmly on the track, a new hero is born. Start with a loss and thus elimination from Europe and the people will question the decision in no time. Plus, it puts even more pressure on the next game in Serie A, a trip to... leader Napoli.

Of course a new coach always need some preparation time to mold the team. A new vision, fresh ideas, a different formation etc., it requires time. Time Roma doesn’t have. The top 3 created an (albeit small) gap after last weekend, Roma can’t afford to lose much ground now, important weeks are coming up. It would be ideal to give the newcomer some space.

Heart & Mind

That’s why Rudi should stick around until at least BATE. A win against the team from Belarus and he earned himself another stay of execution until Napoli. A loss in one of both games (not unthinkable) and the new coach has a rather easier schedule from there on out: Spezia (Coppa) and Genoa at home, Chievo away and then Milan and Hellas Verona at home. The first real test is Juventus on January 24. That’s more than one month of doable games, with a small winter break in between. Enough time to turn things around and even grab a player or two or three in the mercato.

Saying Spalletti wouldn’t need as much acclimatization as say Mazzarrri or Ancelotti is not true. A lot has changed since he left, the management for starters. Of the players only Daniele and Totti remained, while Florenzi still wore diapers back then. Enough time has passed to heal the wounds between all parties and I guess Luciano prefers a warmer environment after his quite long Russian spell. After all, he stayed almost as long with Zenit as with Roma.

He’s no journey man like Ranieri or Zeman, he knows what he’s doing, each step in his career has been carefully planned. He takes his time before making a decision. In Luciano’s case a return to Roma would be a choice of the heart, not the mind.

Winter is coming and Rome can be a warm place. A very warm place. It’s just a matter of timing.