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Gianluca Mancini: “Pressure in football can only be positive.”

He’s shown great athleticism in Serie A, but Gianluca Mancini comes across as the thinking man’s footballer.

Italy v Poland -EURO U21 Photo by Danilo Di Giovanni/Soccrates/Getty Images

It was another guerrilla press conference at Trigoria today, as Roma got through the business of presenting new defender Gianluca Mancini. Just like Diawara’s presser yesterday, it was done in a swift manner with Morgan De Sanctis making the introductions.

But Mancini himself was forthcoming and, from his insight on what Fonseca expects and where Mancini is looking to improve himself, we can more or less gather than Mancini isn’t replacing Manolas’ old role in the team even if Mancini is a capable man-marker.

Instead it looks like Mancini is pushing himself to defend space better, in an effort to lead the line and push up field when the time comes.

De Sanctis on signing Mancini:

“Gianluca is a young, Italian defender who’s already being called up to the national team. He has all the qualities we were looking for in a defender. He knows how to defend, to move the team up field, he showed a big capacity for scoring goals last season too.

We’re convinced he has big margins of improvement in him, and for this we’ve invested a lot on him. I leave the possibility to you all to have all your questions answered.”

Mancini on Fonseca’s demands:

“The coach has spoken with me. He talked a little about the tactical situations we’ve got to make happen on the pitch, especially when it comes to us defenders since I am one. And that’s it. High line, a lot of pressing but also a lot of recycling the ball and knowing how to impose ourselves on the game from the back.”

Mancini on which Roma teammate has impressed him the most:

Roma v Bologna Serie A 18/02/2019. Photo by Giuseppe Maffia/NurPhoto via Getty Images

“There are so many, because it’s a very strong squad. If I have to name one, Kolarov. He was already impressing me before I came here. But now I’m training with him, it’s even more true.”

Mancini on whether he feels like he’s “arrived”:

“Absolutely not. Because I’m very young and I’ve got a long way to go and I’m only at the beginning. I had a good season last year but there’s a lot of time left to do better. I’m happy to be here, to improve myself with my new teammates and coach.”

Mancini on where he has to improve:

“Many things. My acceleration, being faster in general, marking, sometimes zonal marking being as I’m used to man-marking. There are things where I feel in my comfort zone and others where I know I have to put in a lot of work.”

Mancini on the World Cup 2006 generation of Materazzi and De Rossi:

Italian defender Marco Materazzi (L) loo Photo credit should read ODD ANDERSEN/AFP/Getty Images

“De Rossi’s career? It’s not up to me to sum it up. Because I’ve followed him since I was 10 years old, I saw him win the World Cup and everything he did since then was extraordinary.

Being at this club where he spent his entire sporting life, let’s call it that, it’s a point of pride for me. It’s a motivation to give even more and to honour the shirt as best possible.”

Mancini on moving to Roma this past January:

“There was just chat in January but little of substance. And sincerely, moving in January was never my intention because I wanted to respect Atalanta,, I wanted to stay there and finish out the season.

So it was just a matter of a few words exchanged that weren’t going anywhere.”

Mancini on Fonseca being like Gasperini:

“It’s only the fifth training session I’m doing with the coach. But yes, already from the very start I can say [what Spinazzola said about Fonseca reminding him of Gasperini] is true. There’s something there that reminds you of Gasperini. But clearly everyone has their own different idea of football. Everyone can ask something of you, and Fonseca asks a lot of high intensity and physical work.”

Mancini on doubts in moving to Roma away from Champions League football:

“First off, I want to say I spent two beautiful years in Bergamo. Doubts on coming to Roma? I didn’t have any, especially when the coach called me and told me Roma wanted me. Wearing this shirt, as I said earlier, is a source of pride for me and I’ve said it’s a big payback for the many sacrifices I made when I first began playing football.”

Mancini on whether it’s true Gasperini handholds Atalanta players:

Atalanta BC v US Sassuolo - Serie A Photo by Alessandro Sabattini/Getty Images

“I can say he prepares you to the maximum. So at Atalanta we were a unified block that stepped onto the pitch every Sunday to perfection.

I can’t respond to any of the other things said [about ex-Atalanta players struggling elsewhere] though. I can only say I’ll give the maximum for this shirt and I hope to achieve big results.”

Mancini on Fonseca’s demands:

“Like we said before, he asks for pressing, keeping the line high and not being afraid of staying high. Maybe in Italy we’re used to almost always running back to goal. He was saying not to have fear in staying high, to make your opponent think more.

And, for every player in the team, when we’re moving up the pitch we should all look to contribute something more. What I like about his game is not being afraid to play the ball out the back, and I see football in the same way in terms of being aggressive, high and taking on your opponent without fear. I feel like those are strengths I have.”

Mancini on having the right character for pressure in Rome:

“Pressure? I truly feel, in the world of football, pressure should always be there but the right kind of positive pressure. Not the pressure of dwelling on mistakes. We’re doing the most beautiful job in the world, and I’m part of a fantastic team. So it can only be positive pressure.”

Mancini on playing in a back four:

“I’ve had the good fortune of playing with the national team, and to have done it before coming to Atalanta. So let’s say I’m used to playing in a back four also.

Maybe at the very beginning there can be something you have to get used to again, but it’s up to me to understand what the coach wants of me straight away.”

Mancini on his ideal defensive partner:

“They’re all strong players, at least from what I’ve seen. Juan and Fazio, from what I’ve seen two great players and I’ve just got to learn and improve around them. Then the final decision is always up to the coach.”

De Sanctis on Roma handing out higher wages this summer:

Roma v Napoli -Serie A Photo by Silvia Lore/NurPhoto via Getty Images

“Everything is done within the bigger picture we all share, from both both the sporting and financial side.

We know that, moving forward from here, we have to bring another centre back to the club. And so all the decisions that follow are made with the sporting and financial direction in mind.

In short, there’s nothing we’ve done on the fly.”