After officially signing on as Roma’s 17,000th manager yesterday, Eusebio Di Francesco gave his first full press conference today. In a wide ranging presser, EDF touched on everything and everyone from Francesco Totti to Radja Nainggolan to Domenico Berardi, while also providing insight into his tactical proclivities, Roma’s stadium nightmare and the role of the fans in Roma’s success. It’s a great read, so take a look at the real McCoy.
For our purposes, we’ll hone in a few key talking points.
On Roma’s most fervent fans, EDF spoke firsthand of the impact they can have on the squad:
Having experienced it first hand, I can tell you that it’s vital. I’m convinced that they are and will always be our twelfth man. Anyone who loves or wears this shirt has a unique bond with it and I think the Curva is capable of giving the players that extra something they need. As the coach, I want to create a real sense of belonging at this club
While I obviously can’t speak to that since I wasn’t a professional player, I will remind you that the Curva Sud effectively abandoned the team due to a sheet of plastic—don’t get me wrong, it’s better when they’re there—so will the thrill of Monchi and the nostalgia of EDF be enough to bring them back full time?
On Roma’s penchant to change managers like a sheet in the wind:
I’m aware that things move quickly in football. I just want to perform well and focus on football and on working hard. I think that’s vital and I’m convinced that I can tap into the values of a club that I know pretty well, although it's changed a bit. I want to convey enthusiasm and that stems from the way we behave, the way we go about things, the way we build a close relationship with the people. We have to be sincere, secure the results that are at the heart of our football objectives and perhaps entertain a few people too.
Oh, Eusebio. You poor, ignorant bastard. Rent, don’t buy. Trust me.
On our main man Domenico Berardi:
I've been saying what a fantastic player Berardi is for two years now, so there's nothing new there. I've watched him develop and he's got bundles of talent. That doesn't mean Roma want to buy him, though. He and I shared some wonderful times together and I know he's a top-class player
As I said on a recent podcast, although Berardi wouldn’t be a like-for-like replacement for Mohamed Salah, he’s such an incredible talent that if you have the chance to get him, you must.
First of all, let's hope he's able to recover in time for our training camp in Pinzolo. He can play in lots of positions and, yes, especially down the right, but I prefer my players to focus on specific positions. He's great going forward and has an excellent shot on him. He's done very well at full-back too, although clearly there's plenty of room for improvement in the defensive side of his game. I want to work with him first before deciding on a position. I hope he'll be fit again as soon as possible.
Honest, pragmatic and realistic. I think I might like this guy after all.
On De Rossi:
The first person I called when I knew I was coming back was Daniele and this brings us back to the sense of belonging I mentioned earlier. I think he encapsulates what Roma is all about with his attitude and the way he does things. My son plays for Bologna and he's a huge Roma fan. He loves De Rossi and I understand why: whenever a team-mate scores he's the first to rush over to congratulate him and celebrate. I think a lot of players can learn from that. In terms of his football ability, there's not really much to say. I think he's a player the whole team can look to, regardless of whether he plays or not. They'll all get their opportunities
Gotta love the amount of respect and recognition he’s paying to De Rossi here. With Francesco Totti “retired”, De Rossi is now the unquestioned head, heart and soul of this club, so it’s a relief to see EDF give him his proper due.
And lastly (for our purposes), Di Francesco spoke about his objectives for Roma this season:
We're not going to come out and start making bold statements. We just need to get our heads down and focus on working hard – that's what will get us results. I know what the fans would like, and what we'd all like. People often bandy around the word 'enthusiasm' but when you have it, when you go out onto the pitch and see the right atmosphere and everyone getting involved, that's already a step forward. That's what we need to do if we're to be successful.
We’re not going to come out and start making bold statements. A fucking men.
Di Francesco certainly seems like a thoughtful and thorough man, so perhaps he’ll bring the stability this club so desperately craves.