Fonseca: ‘Roma big pleasure’

Paulo Fonseca has called coaching Roma a ‘big pleasure’ but admitted that Serie A is an ‘exhausting’ experience.

Fonseca took charge of Roma last summer after three trophy-laden seasons at Shakhtar Donetsk, and he is delighted to be living the ‘dream’ in the Italian capital.

“We brought in 15 new players [12 in the summer, 3 in January], plus a new CEO [Guido Fienga], a new sporting director [Gianluca Petrachi] and me, a new coach,” he told ESPN.

“We’re creating a new team from the beginning and that is never easy. But I’m very satisfied with the work we’ve done so far, we’re improving a lot and I think in a short time we can be one of the strongest teams in Serie A.

“The media and the fans are very intense here, but if you want to coach a big team, it’s part of the job and if you’re respectful to them, they will be respectful to you.

“I dreamed of this and now I’m living it, so of course, it’s a big pleasure for me.”

The 47-year-old has been tasked with rebuilding the Giallorossi and getting them back into the Champions League, which he confesses has been a ‘challenge’. 

“The injuries were a big problem and, of course, you can’t control that. But apart from that, the biggest challenge was simply building a new team.

“In the past, I would always focus on my team and let others worry about us. I realized here I couldn’t do that.

“I had to find a balance between my principles and the reality of what is required to play in Serie A. Here, you have to think about how the opposition plays.

“The quality of the coaching and the tactics of each opponent is so high, you can’t just focus on yourself. You have to continually adjust to your opponent.

“It surprised me. Every game is draining, a real challenge tactically. Each match is its own story, you can never relax.

“We never know what will happen with the other team. You prepare but it’s difficult to know exactly how they will play.”

Jose Mourinho always spoke of the difficulty working in Serie A, despite having led Inter to a historic Treble in 2010.

“He’s right. And what’s different too is that every team wants to play, nobody only thinks about defending, though they all know how to defend.

“Teams at the bottom can beat teams at the top on any given day and that’s a positive. It’s exhausting, but it’s also stimulating. I feel like I’m learning and improving every week.

“For example, at Shakhtar we were the dominant team and we played most of the game in the opposition half, every game.

“Here, it’s different. One minute the other team will be pressing us high, trying to force mistakes, the next they’ll be defending low.

“You can’t play just one way against that. You have to adapt.”

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