Serie A TIM

FONSECA ADMITS STRUGGLES AFTER SLOPPY START

Here’s what coach Paulo Fonseca had to say following Sunday’s defeat to AC Milan.

This is what the Portuguese had to say about the main talking points…

You did not start well tonight. Roma have picked up just three points from a possible 24 against the big sides this season. They haven’t won one of those head-to-head games. What is the team lacking?

“It’s true, we started really badly tonight. Milan had a few early chances because we gave the ball away at the base of our build-up play. We got everything wrong in the first 20 minutes or so and we were too passive defensively.

"Against a side like AC Milan it can be difficult to bounce back from that. But after we equalised, we played our game and we created chances. But we didn’t start well enough.”

The players couldn’t believe the penalty that was given against Roma. What did you make of the referee today?

“I don’t want to talk about the refereeing. It’s easy to try and find excuses right now. It was an element of today I didn’t like, but I don’t want to make excuses.”

What about the decisive goal that made it 2-1?

“It’s clear: Pau was alone, he wasn’t under pressure and he could give it to Fazio or he could play it long. But after that it was difficult for Mancini to deal with Rebic, for the way the ball came across to him. The problem for us was the first mistake. When we make errors like that – and we have made a lot of them against the big teams – it becomes difficult to bounce back.”

Did you expect Milan to look so dangerous, so quick, and to create so many problems for you through the central areas? Playing the ball into feet created a lot of problems for yourselves, in both halves…

“They are two different issues. When we started the game, the team gave away the ball a lot as we tried to pass out from the back – and that allowed Milan to counter quickly and dangerously, or win the ball close to our area. After overcoming that I have to say we created a lot more openings.

"In the second half we took risks because we were losing, and when you start to do that it’s natural that Milan would find a bit more space. In the first half we did not do well in our build-up play. We lost the ball too much and that gave Milan the initiative in our half.”

But Milan seemed to be quicker in general.

“We know that, when they win the ball, Milan are very quick to get on the counter. They have players that carry the ball really well – we knew we couldn’t afford to make mistakes in that phase of the game.”

You have already mentioned individual errors. It seems to be a common theme.

“No, I have not spoken about individual mistakes; when we get something wrong, we all get it wrong. The errors are also of organisation – we didn’t do well in our build-up, we didn’t drop off when we should have done, we didn’t make the right decisions at the right time. That was an issue.”

Is there also some sort of issue, either mentally or in terms of quality, when Roma face a big side?

“It’s hard to make sense of it. We always fall short in the small details, we lack a little something against the big sides. We can’t run from that problem.

"It’s true that we have not won against the big sides, but it’s a matter of fine margins. It’s not an attacking problem but a defensive one, in my opinion."

(Photo Getty Images)

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