Roma appoint Fonseca


Roma picked an up-and-comer to lead the squad, Paulo Fonseca from Shakhtar Donetsk. The manager agreed to a two-year contract and his hiring was made official on Tuesday morning. He takes over from Claudio Ranieri, who was appointed as caretaker manager after the sacking of Eusebio Di Francesco in March. La Lupa closed the season in sixth position, their worst finish in the six years.

In Ukraine, Fonseca won seven trophies in the last three seasons: three national titles, three domestic cups and one supercup. His side dominated and prevailed in 100 of the 135 matches, at one point collecting ten clean sheets in a row and breaking that record with 24 in a season.

His team impressed in Europe too in 2017/2018, when they knocked out Napoli in the group stage and went toe-to-toe with Manchester City. They were then eliminated by Roma in the round of 16. They did not make it past the first phase last season and were beaten right away by Eintracht Frankfurt in Europa League.

The coach worked his way up the ladder in Portugal before being poached by Shakhtar. He got hired by Porto in 2013 after managing Pacos de Ferreira: he did not last long with the Dragoes, but then he rekindled his stocks with Sporting Braga, triumphing in a domestic cup and going deep in Europe, before moving abroad.

The 43-year-old boss uses a modern playing style that incorporates a heavy dose of ball possession, an elaborate offense and high pressure. He is a big proponent of 4-2-3-1, which was regularly used last year too, so the Giallorossi roster is already apt to pull it off.

Nonetheless, he will have to make a decision about the final role of their brightest youngster, Nicolò Zaniolo, who has switched between the right flank and no.10 while probably being a natural box-to-box midfielder. Another centre-piece of their young core, Lorenzo Pellegrini, would be pretty limited if he had to play as pivot. The trequartista figures to be a key component of the new coach’s plan.

A faster approach could certainly help their paciest players, Cengiz Under and Justin Kluivert, who had an up-and-down season for different reasons, and it also suits Stephan El Shaarawy and their duo of fullbacks, Aleksandar Kolarov and Alessandro Florenzi, who were already big parts of their offense.

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