Published on: 14 January 2021

Paulo Fonseca faced the media on Thursday afternoon, as he answered questions from the media ahead of the first Derby della Capitale of the season.

Friday's game against Lazio gets underway at 20:45 local time.

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

Yesterday Tiago Pinto held a press conference, where he spoke about the club’s plans for the future. He said that the project is built for the medium and long-term. What did you make of that?

“I saw Tiago’s press conference, where he did talk about the medium and long-term project. But he also talked about ambition. It’s always important to have ambition, within the team, at all times. We are all working together to be an ambitious team, one that always wants to win. That’s what is most important – to have that ambition, both now and in the future, to win every game.”

Will the side that started against Inter start the game tomorrow as well?

“You’ll find that out tomorrow.”

What does the derby mean to you – and does it weigh on you that you have not yet won one?

“But I have not lost one, either. We know that it is an important game, for all of us. There are three points up for grabs, and we want to take them. We want to win.”

How is the team’s development in terms of their mentality going? What still needs to happen for the team to play a full 90 minutes at their best?

“It’s not a fitness issue, I’m sure of that. In the last 30 minutes against Inter the team produced the response that we had to. Playing at a high intensity, up in the final third of the pitch. It’s clearly difficult to play 90 minutes at high intensity, but we are working hard to make sure we can maintain a balance throughout the match. We analysed the game against Inter, the group knows what we need to work on.”

Roma are still in the fight for the league, the Coppa Italia and the Europa League. Do you think you are building a side that is capable of winning a trophy this season?

“You always need to have that ambition. We want to go into every game thinking about winning it. We will take things game-by-game, but in each of them we will be trying to win.”

Only once so far this season have you picked the same team twice in a row. Could tomorrow be the second time that happens?

“As I’ve already said, I’ve got four words for: You’ll find out tomorrow.”

Last time out Roma played really well in the derby, and deserved more than the draw you ended up with. You put the breaks on the opposition with two tactical moves: putting Bryan Cristante on Sergej Milinkovic-Savic and Jordan Veretout on Luis Alberto. Will you repeat that move tomorrow?

“That’s a smart question, a tactical one, to understand how we will play tomorrow. What I can say is that we are playing a different formation now compared to last season. From four in defence to three.

"We know that both of those players you mention are important to them. They are great players, although they have other great players too – especially in attack. We have been working on things with their collective ability in mind, more than individual qualities.”

Could it be an advantage for you to be playing this game without any fans in the stadium?

“It’s never an advantage to be playing without the fans there. And I am sure that the players think exactly the same thing. Playing without fans is the worst possible thing that could happen, certainly for this game. We really want to see fans back in the stadium.”

Roma have been prolific in the first half of games so far this season. In the second half, less so. Do you know why that is?

“We have to look at games on an individual basis. That could be about tactical details, or indeed other problems. But we are working hard to become more balanced in that regard across the full 90 minutes.”

Are you still weighing up any selection decisions ahead of tomorrow?

“I don’t have any doubts.”

The opposition tomorrow are good at winning the ball back and launching counter-attacks, at pretty much any moment in the game. How do you prepare to face a side like that?

“I think those are the characteristics of a lot of sides in Italian football. A lot of clubs in Serie A are really good at winning the ball back and hurting you immediately.

"We know that they are good at winning the ball back and dangerous on the counter-attack, and we have worked on that. This week has not been different from others, though.”

How is Pedro doing?

“He’s fit, he will be in the squad tomorrow.”

What quality can’t be missing tomorrow?


(Photo Getty Images)