Roma's latest quest for their future ex-manager was a wild one, ranging from the delirious highs of Antonio Conte to the dregs of Siniša Mihajlović, but as is often the case with Roma, they fell somewhere in between. By tabbing Paulo Fonseca as their next manager, Roma neither reached for the stars nor fell asleep in the gutter outside a dollar store. Fonseca is, in many respects, an up and coming manager, and as we so often say in these situations, if he can turn Roma around the world will be his oyster.
Thus far we've talked at length about what to expect from Fonseca on the field, but we haven't heard much from the man himself. The club published the latest edition of their "The Big Interview” series today with the man now occupying the hottest seat in the Eternal City.
Despite the instant pressure that comes with the Roma job, Fonseca was equal parts measured, confident and realistic.
On what we should expect from his teams, Fonseca waxed on competitiveness and ambition:
First of all, I expect a courageous team. A team that wants to play against the biggest teams and the smallest teams with the same approach. We have to build a competitive team, a team that can play with quality and a team that plays a style off football to make the fans proud. For me the quality of the performance is very important. Of course we want to win – the main goal is to win – but equally we want to build a team that has real quality about its play.
For me it is not enough to win. I like to win, but I also want to see our ideas implemented out there on the pitch. I want to see a high quality of performance, a performance that can excite the fans. The fans must go home after the game and, I hope, say that the team played well and they won because they were courageous. That is very important for me.
Boy, that second sentence cuts right to the heart of the matter doesn't it? If Roma could have simply handled SPAL we wouldn't even be discussing Fonseca, but you have to like his emphasis on quality over results.
Fonseca also spoke on a hot button issue: tactical rigidity vs working with what you have:
The most important thing I need to understand is the best way to use the players to make the most of their abilities. I believe that a lot of the players have the quality to play the courageous, ambitious, attacking game that I want to implement. A style where we dominate the opponent. I am sure the players have the qualities required for that.
Well, I generally like to play in a 4-2-3-1 - but the system is not the most important thing. The most important thing is the dynamics and the principles within that system. I hope to build a very dynamic team here.
Oof, I don't think it's a stretch to say he fucking nailed that question. We liked to slag EDF off for being too focused on the 4-3-3 formation, but in actuality he was quite tactically flexible, but to see Fonseca put emphasis on dynamics and principles was a breath of fresh air. He may like attacking football, but he at least seems to admit there are multiple means to achieve that end.
Head on over to the official site to read the full interview, in which Fonseca talks about Roma's suddenly short summer and how that will impact his ability to imprint his philosophy on his new squad.
We've certainly seen many impressive interviews from Roma's various managers over the years, and Fonseca definitely checked all the boxes in this one, so perhaps Roma are onto something here.
Either way, with little more than a month before the Europa League adventure begins, we better hope Fonseca communicates with his players as well as he does with press.