Roma has struggled in recent weeks with Paulo Fonseca attracting heavy criticism in the nation’s capital. The Giallorossi suffered a disappointing defeat against Lazio in the latest iteration of the Derby Della Capitale and most recently slumped to a shock elimination against Spezia in the Coppa Italia. To make matters worse, Fonseca wrongly made six substitutions, handing Roma its second forfeit of the season.
Roma avenged its defeat in the Coppa Italia on Saturday, but nearly dropped points once again. The Italian giants needed a stoppage-time winner to overcome Spezia, with Lorenzo Pellegrini firing home the winner in the seven-goal thriller. The win offers Fonseca some temporary respite in the Roma hot-seat, but as the disappointing performances pile on the tactician’s future is very much in doubt.
According to recent reports, Roma is seriously considering replacing Fonseca come summertime with a number of high-profile managers in contention. Massimiliano Allegri and Maurizio Sarri have since been linked with the job, casting further uncertainty over Fonseca’s future.
Despite the increased reports, Roma is still picking up results, emerging as legitimate top-four contenders. While the Giallorossi have gotten the job done thus far, their struggles against top sides over the course of the season have been concerning. Roma is yet to win in its clashes against Italy’s top six, losing to Atalanta, Napoli, and Lazio, while playing out to draws against Juventus, Milan, and Inter.
Beyond the disappointing results, Roma has conceded 16 goals in these six games, highlighting their defensive issues. In many ways, the second half of the season will be defining for Fonseca’s tenure in the nation’s capital. The first step for the Portuguese tactician is guiding Roma back into Europe’s elite competition. Should Fonseca deliver Champions League football at Roma, the case for his departure weakens significantly.
The reality is, Champions League football alone is simply not enough. Roma must demonstrate considerable improvement against Italy’s giants in the second half of the season. As the race for top four intensifies, it may just prove to be the difference. While qualifying for Champions League football is good in itself, Roma needs to show it can compete at the highest level under Fonseca.
Fonseca’s naivety has been on display in big games with Roma, underlining a worrying trend. Should the lapses in concentration continue, the Roma brass must seriously consider how much of their woes stem from their manager. The Portuguese boss has instilled an entertaining and expansive brand of football, but Roma often falls short in their own defensive third.
Let’s now consider Fonseca’s potential replacements. Allegri has regularly proven to be one of Italy’s elite tacticians, enjoying varying degrees of success where he goes. The former Juventus boss would offer Roma some much-needed stability and pragmatism, which will especially come in handy in big games. If Allegri is interested in the job, there is no reason why Roma shouldn’t pull the trigger.
Other than Allegri, Sarri has often been linked with the Roma hot-seat. The 62-year-old was most recently sacked by Juventus despite leading them to yet another Scudetto. Sarri’s 4-3-3 is arguably a better fit for Roma’s current roster, making for an intriguing appointment. While his ideas never fully got implemented in Turin, a potential move to Roma could just be the shake-up Sarri needs. With the pressure to deliver trophies reduced, Sarri could hit the ground running – much like it was the case with Napoli.
Fonseca’s time in the nation’s capital may just be coming to an end, even if he leads Roma back into the Champions League. Allegri and Sarri represent a better fit given their experience in Serie A and could offer Roma a fresh start they need.
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