Serie A TIM

FONSECA IMPRESSED BY PELLEGRINI PERFORMANCE

Coach Paulo Fonseca had praise for Lorenzo Pellegrini and Bryan Cristante, among others, following Sunday's win over Genoa.

The Giallorossi were 1-0 winners at the Stadio Olimpico thanks to Gianluca Mancini's header, picking up their second Serie A win in the space of five days.

Here's what Fonseca had to say about the contest...

Could Roma have done more to finish this game off sooner?

“We were playing against a good side, who have picked up some really good results against the top sides. I expected Genoa to press us higher up, instead they opted to sit a bit deeper and so it was harder for us to find space, especially in the first half. We were a bit slow moving the ball around, without any deep balls into space either. But I think in the end we warranted the victory.”

Can you explain why Bryan Cristante played left centre-back this time, rather than in the middle of the defence?

“Bryan is a really intelligent footballer. I made that choice to give us a bit more quality with build-up from the back. We saw that Bryan and Gianluca Mancini had a bit more space either side to play and, with the ability on the ball Cristante has, we were able to get the win.”

Despite playing so many games, the squad seems in good shape physically…

“It’s true, they are doing well. We’ve managed the players and their gametime. A few players are a bit more tired than some of the others – because a few are playing pretty much every game, like Cristante, Mancini and [Lorenzo] Pellegrini.”

We expected Lorenzo Pellegrini to be the playmaker, instead he was a bit deeper – could he continue in that role?

“Like Bryan, he is another really clever player. Pellegrini covered Jordan Veretout’s role today. Jordan was playing really well there and whoever plays in that position needs to be able to find the spaces. Looking at the second line, Lorenzo did well – he ran and he worked hard to help the team. We have other solutions there: [Henrikh] Mkhitaryan and [Gonzalo] Villar could play there too, but I have to say I really liked how Pellegrini did.”

Roma haven’t conceded goals on the counter-attack – what’s the reason for that?

“In the first half we didn’t press in the way we wanted to. The team lacked a little bit of aggression in that first phase. The marking setup we had with Mancini was pretty much always well executed; we didn’t give Genoa the chance to launch quick counter-attacks. But [Amadou] Diawara had an important role in that too: where he is he gives the team more balance, helping the defenders.”

Could Edin Dzeko be back for the game against Shakhtar Donetsk? What did you make of Borja Mayoral today?

“It will be difficult for him. Dzeko is recovering, he’s begun some individual training. Let’s see over the next few days how things go.

"Borja worked hard today. It was not an easy game for him, he didn’t have much space. As we saw, Genoa sat deeper and that always makes things harder for the attackers. But Borja did not give up and he worked hard for his teammates: he created space, he ran in behind and he helped out. Sometimes that work from the strikers goes unseen, but he did well. It’s true that, with the ball, he could have made some better or quicker decisions in places. But he worked hard, as he always does.”

(Photo Getty Images)

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