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Fonseca: ‘I trust all Roma players’

Paulo Fonseca is impressed with Roma’s Europa League success, despite rotating the squad against Young Boys. ‘I had full trust in all of them.’

The Giallorossi were already qualified for the Round of 32, but the 3-1 win over Young Boys confirms they have won the group.

“It was important to get back to winning ways and a good performance,” Fonseca told Sky Sport Italia, just days after a 4-0 Serie A defeat to Napoli.

“It was also important to get first place. I want my team to always have courage on the ball, something we usually do, but we didn’t against Napoli. That was an off day, that’s all.

“I felt all the players wanted to participate today and I had full trust in all of them.”

Not only did 18-year-old Calafiori get his first start, he also scored a spectacular debut goal into the top corner.

“I really liked his performance, he is improving and more ready for this stage now. We made a lot of changes and it’s important for a coach to feel he has many options to call upon.”

There aren’t many alternatives in defence, as the injuries continue to pile up for Roma.

“I have hope Jordan Veretout can recover quickly, but I’m more pessimistic about Chris Smalling. We have a situation with Gianluca Mancini, who won’t play this Sunday.”

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Smalling fitness concerns Roma

Chris Smalling is still training apart from the rest of the team and could reportedly miss Roma’s home clash against Sassuolo on Sunday.

The former Manchester United defender still feels pain at his knee and has been training apart from the rest of the team over the last couple of weeks.

According to Il Corriere della Sera, Smalling could miss Roma’s upcoming Serie A clash against Sassuolo.

The 31-year-old has already missed seven games in the current campaign because of injuries.

He picked up a mild knee injury after his return to the Capital on the deadline day and suffered food poisoning last month.

He has four appearances in all competition for Roma so far this season.

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Petrachi attacks Tiago Pinto

Former Roma director of sport Gianluca Petrachi has attacked Tiago Pinto: ‘I don’t know him, he doesn’t even have qualifications to be sporting director.’

Petrachi was sacked by former Roma president James Pallotta last summer.

Tha Giallorossi brought Tiago Pinto in from Benfica last month but the Portuguese is not going to serve as sporting director as Roma’s search for Petrachi’s successor continues.

“Benfica’s sporting director is Rui Costa, I’ve always spoken with him,” Petrachi told Sportitalia.

“Tiago Pinto doesn’t even qualifications to work as sporting director. He may be the best director in the world, but Rui Costa is the director of sport of Benfica. Maybe he will cover different roles, they say he can do many things. As a director of sport, I really don’t know him.”

Petrachi denied he clashed with Paulo Fonseca even if the Portuguese tactician didn’t like Petrachi storming inside the dressing room at half time of Sassuolo-Roma in February 2020, with the Giallorossi down to three goals.

“I didn’t enter the dressing room in every game. There are some important moments when a director, as a representative of the club, must do what he has to. I’d do it again and again. I didn’t clash with Fonseca, he spoke to the team after I had finished. I didn’t do anything wrong, I try to give voice to the club.

“My regret is that I’ve never had a direct relationship with [James] Pallotta. We didn’t have a direct contact and not only because of my English.

“The President understood the situation later on. There was a very friendly exchange of messages. I wanted to tell him: ‘Mr. President if you discriminate me in front of media, you don’t give me the strength to protect the club, you’re killing me, but you have to protect me instead.’

“My contact person was CEO Guido Fienga, who was always my point of reference. I transferred everything to him and consequently he referred to the president and vice-versa.

“Until January everything was fine, from then on something started to creak. Unfortunately, Pallotta never came to Italy and this affected because the presence of the president is crucial.”

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EL: Calafiori scorcher raises Roma

Roma came back from a goal down to beat Young Boys 3-1 and secure top spot in their Europa League group, including a stunning debut strike from Riccardo Calafiori.

Follow all the action as it happens from this game and AZ Alkmaar-Napoli on the LIVEBLOG.

The Giallorossi had already qualified for the knockouts, so could rotate their squad in this head-to-head for top spot.

Calafiori immediately had a half-volley flash just wide, then Bruno Peres saw his free kick fingertipped over the bar.

Pedro floated a great pass for Carles Perez, whose first touch was excellent, but the angled drive flashed off target. Pedro then went for it himself, forcing a save from a tricky angle.

However, Young Boys took the lead with their first shot on goal and it was route one stuff. A long ball over the top allowed Jean-Pierre Nsame to sprint past Bryan Cristante and beat Pau Lopez.

Calafiori impressed again, completing a give-and-go to test the goalkeeper from a tight angle.

Roma got their equaliser moments later, as Pedro forced an astonishing save from six yards and Borja Mayoral could not miss the rebound.

Henrikh Mkhitaryan came on for the second half and immediately tested David von Ballmoos with a powerful strike from the D.

It was Calafiori who got his first goal for Roma in some spectacular style. A free kick was cleared to the D, where the youth product simply could not have hit his left-foot strike any sweeter into the top corner. It was unstoppable from the 18-year-old.

Just after Felix Mambimbi had blasted over from a promising position, Roma made it 3-1 with Edin Dzeko, as the Bruno Peres cross from the by-line was deflected and the Bosnian hit it on the volley from 15 yards.

It was too much for Mohamed Ali Camara, who lost his head with a reaction foul on Mkhitaryan and was sent off.

Roma 3-1 Young Boys

Nsame 34 (Y), Borja Mayoral 43 (R), Calafiori 59 (R), Dzeko 81 (R)

Roma: Pau Lopez; Ibanez (Spinazzola 46), Cristante (Fazio 65), Juan Jesus; Bruno Peres, Villar (Pellegrini 60), Diawara, Calafiori; Carles Perez, Pedro (Mkhitaryan 46); Borja Mayoral (Dzeko 60)

Young Boys: Von Ballmoos; Hefti, Camara, Zesiger, Lefort; Rieder (Sierro 58), Aebischer (Gaudino 68), Garcia (Elia 67); Fassnacht, Nsame (Siebatcheu 76), Ngamaleu (Mambimbi 76)

Ref: Jovic (CRO)

Sent off: Camara 83 (Y)

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HT: Roma fight back with Young Boys

Roma have largely dominated the game so far, but needed Borja Mayoral to cancel out the Young Boys opener on a long ball.

Follow all the action as it happens from this game and AZ Alkmaar-Napoli on the LIVEBLOG.

The Giallorossi had already qualified for the knockouts, so could rotate their squad in this head-to-head for top spot.

Riccardo Calafiori immediately had a half-volley flash just wide, then Bruno Peres saw his free kick fingertipped over the bar.

Pedro floated a great pass for Carles Perez, whose first touch was excellent, but the angled drive flashed off target. Pedro then went for it himself, forcing a save from a tricky angle.

However, Young Boys took the lead with their first shot on goal and it was route one stuff. A long ball over the top allowed Nsame to sprint past Bryan Cristante and beat Pau Lopez.

Calafiori impressed again, completing a give-and-go to test the goalkeeper from a tight angle.

Roma got their equaliser moments later, as Pedro forced an astonishing save from six yards and Borja Mayoral could not miss the rebound.

Roma 1-1 Young Boys (Half-Time)

Nsame 34 (Y), Borja Mayoral 43 (R)

Roma: Pau Lopez; Ibanez, Cristante, Juan Jesus; Bruno Peres, Villar, Diawara, Calafiori; Carles Perez, Pedro; Borja Mayoral

Young Boys: Von Ballmoos; Hefti, Camara, Zesiger, Lefort; Rieder, Aebischer, Garcia; Fassnacht, Nsame, Ngamaleu

Ref: Jovic (CRO)

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