Serie A TIM


Coach Paulo Fonseca reserved praise for his defenders on Sunday afternoon, as the Giallorossi started 2021 with a victory over Sampdoria.

Roma ran out 1-0 winners thanks to Edin Dzeko's 72nd minute finish, with Fonseca pleased at how a strong defensive display laid the groundwork for that eventual breakthrough.

Here is what the Portuguese had to say after the game at the Olimpico...

What differences were there between this game and the defeat to Torino that started 2020?

“The most important thing is that we won. The team is stronger, we’ve worked together for longer and we have more balance. Today we controlled the game throughout and we deserved to win. We could have scored more goals, because we created a few different chances to score. But having been together for longer the team is a lot better for it.”

What made the difference today?

“Sampdoria are hard to play against, they are a very well-organised side and they defend really well. But the boys always believed they would find a winner.

"We kept things really solid at the back. When you do that, you always have the chance to win – because we were creating chances as well. It was tough to play out there because of the weather, but I have to say that the staff did a brilliant job to drain it. I think we deserved to win.”

Is Chris Smalling getting back to top shape?

“Yes, he played really well today – as did [Gianluca] Mancini and [Roger] Ibanez. It was important we were solid at the back today. I think the whole team defended well.”

Do you really need another forward in the January transfer window?

“We’ll see. Tiago Pinto will arrive this week. We are talking with him about what the squad needs.”

What did you make of Lorenzo Pellegrini’s performance?

“Really good. He put in a brilliant performance.”

(Photo Getty Images)