Monchi: ‘Pressure motivates Roma’

Monchi explains why Roma didn’t buy another centre-back, invested in Patrik Schick and kept their top stars, but welcomes the pressure.

The director of sport answered fan questions on the official Giallorossi website and naturally many enquiries were about the transfer window.

“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,” said Monchi.

“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.”

“We should be happy to have Gregoire Defrel, Patrik and Edin Dzeko 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.

“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 Nainggolan, Kevin Strootman and Daniele De Rossi.

“It was one of the targets I set myself when I first came to Roma and I’m happy to have succeeded.”

The Lupi have a tough Champions League draw with Chelsea, Atletico Madrid and Qarabag.

“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.

“I’ve said (Roma want to win silverware) 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.

“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.

“I’ve always said there are three things you need to be good at (to be a sporting director). You need to love working and be capable of working very hard. You need to be able to take decisions without bowing to external pressure. And you need to a good psychologist when dealing with the Coach and players.”

Monchi is aided in settling in by working with Francesco Totti, who retired to join his staff.

“I think it’s what every Roma fan dreams of and what I’m lucky to be able to do. Francesco is an open book in terms of his knowledge of Roma, the club’s history, the fans, the media and the city. It’s as if I’m studying for a Roma Master’s degree with the best professor in the world.”