PALLOTTA INTERVIEW FONSECA TOTTI – The president of Rome James Pallotta spoke on asroma.it of Fonseca, new Giallorossi coach, and of Francesco Totti given the controversies that have been unleashed in recent days about his managerial role. These are his words:
How was the meeting with Paulo Fonseca?
"The meeting was absolutely fantastic. We all wanted to sit down with Paulo and some of his staff, away from other distractions, to get to know each other well. The meeting was very productive and positive and, among meetings and dinners, saw about six people from Rome involved. "
What did you discuss?
" We talked a lot, but actually we tried to stay more to listen. We have listened to many thoughts about his football philosophy and how he likes to make his teams play. He has very clear and insightful ideas about what he wants to accomplish in Rome and what he expects from all our players. As we saw at Shakhtar, he likes his teams to play with the ball at their feet and with a very high intensity, controlling possession but not only for the concept of possession itself. He has a philosophy of attack and, as he said in his first interview, he wants to win, but in style. He also realizes that the Serie A is one of the most tactically prepared championships in the world and that it may be necessary to make some adjustments, which he explained to us. What encouraged me the most was his flexibility. "
Do you think Roma have players who can play the football that he prefers?
" It was very flattering to the team we have, in particular towards the many young people. He undoubtedly admits that it will take time for the boys to adapt to his methods and the same will be true for him in deepening the knowledge of our players. He also brought his athletic training manager to the meeting and underlined one aspect: the importance of players being in the best possible shape. I thought we had created the conditions to succeed but in recent years we have not exploited them. To play at such a high intensity, players need to train smart every day. I don't think the players were in good shape last season and most of the time it wasn't their fault: this caused an excessive amount of injuries. We have already started to change our preparation program and on this detail we are all on the same wavelength, including Paulo and his team. It was evident from the first day that the Club and the new staff have a lot to offer each other in terms of training methods ".
What impressed you most about the coach?
" I was very happy with how he described the method by which he and his assistants will work individually with the players, trying to improve both the most experienced and the young every day. This is a very important aspect for him. At the same time, however, we need players who want to learn new things, willing to improve themselves and ready to realize that they can always perfect themselves. If the kids are willing to learn and improve, he will be the first to want to help them. He told us that at Shakhtar he often remained at the end of training with different players, working with each of them on different aspects. I know for certain that some of our players, who may not have played every week, felt that last season they were not learning or progressing because no one was there to help them. This is something he cares about and the same goes for me. The players who want are the ones who want to improve, who are willing to stay even at the end of training in order to work on their game. I will do everything possible to make sure I have the resources available to put all this into practice with our players. "
He also talked about discipline?
" Yes, it is a subject he touched on. He firmly believes that discipline will be one of the main keys to achieving our goals. He will immediately explain to players what he expects of them and what everyone will have to do. He emphasized the importance of being all united: there must be true cohesion within the team. Rome is not a question of individuals, it is about winning as a team. Not all players can play every game and as for those who are not involved for any reason, they still expect the same discipline and the same intensity in training, because when they are called into question, they will be ready. Anyone who does not want to be part of what we are trying to create can leave. He explained it very clearly and I am one hundred percent in agreement with him on this aspect ".
The fact that Fonseca never trained in Italian football is a risk?
" Listen, every time you name a new coach you run risks. This applies to every club in the world, not just Rome. What I like about Paulo is the enthusiasm he shows in front of the challenge of being able to train in Serie A, which we know is a very tactical and competitive championship. He has his favorite game system with which he likes to deploy the team, but he told us that he will have to be flexible and able to adapt to different situations. Rather than being scared or discouraged by the task ahead of him, he said he was excited about the new adventure that awaits him and that he can put himself to the test. He is very calm and thoughtful, but at the same time he is very ambitious and also has a good dose of humility. Every day he says he tries to understand how to improve himself, his staff and his players. It is clear that he has confidence in his abilities, but he does not have a minimum of arrogance. He wants to test himself in one of the best European championships and believes he can do it with Roma. "
Did he talk about the players he would like to bring to the club or those who could leave?
" We talked about the players but this remains between us and him. He knows the departments in which we need to improve and clearly there are players who like it more and who perhaps would like to see in Rome. Our task is to try to bring him the players and the team that can help him achieve results for his style of play. Many of us are working day and night to fix things wrong and we are always trying to improve areas that we believe are already good. For example, we stayed awake until midnight in a restaurant on Wednesday night, talking enthusiastically about what we had to do ".
Some players will leave?
" Inevitably some will leave and new ones will arrive. If someone is not 100% committed to the cause or if there is someone else who does not want to be part of what we are trying to build, then he will go away. After last season, we cannot afford to have someone who does not feel committed to our cause. "
There has been a lot of talk in the media about the fact that Francesco Totti was not invited to the London meeting. Is it the truth?
"Obviously it's not true. For the record, let me say something quite clearly to those who think they can continually create divisions within this club: Francesco was absolutely invited to the London meeting. I think he is an integral part of our sporting leadership. I thought it was an important meeting and therefore it was not contemplated that Francis would not be invited. "
Why did Francesco not participate?
" I honestly don't know. Perhaps Francesco thinks he needs some time to think about his future and his role in the club, which we all respect. Francesco lived for 30 years in football, most of them tying shoes to give everything for Roma. If Francesco needs time, we will give him time. I'm sure he has so many thoughts going through his mind about what he wants to do and knows that I'm here for him, as he always has been, before and after he stopped playing. Whether or not some of you believe me, I don't care. In my heart I know I've been there. You will not listen to any criticism of Francis, neither from me nor from anyone else in Rome. "
Can you confirm that he was offered the role of Technical Director at the Rome?
" Yes. Guido Fienga sat at the table with him several times and told him about the role and what it would imply. This is a very important role in the club, probably one of the most important and influential in our sports area and the fact that we want him to hire him explains everything about what we think of Francesco. Together with the new coach, the Sporting Director, Guido, Mauro, me and the staff that supports us, we are putting together a strong team, able to bring Rome back to compete to win trophies and to return to the Champions League and in my ideas Francesco is an integral part of all this. All of us together, not as individuals, we only want one thing: that Rome win. This is what drives us. It is not about me, as it is not Francesco, Guido, Paulo or the new Sporting Director: it is the AS Roma ".
Someone believes that even with a role like this Francesco would not have great influence anyway …  "I don't know what is being said and by whom, since I stopped reading most of the media, but I believe that Francesco already has a great influence in our decision-making process. But the idea of this new role is to better define its position. Sotto Monchi did not have a well-defined role, but since Monchi left we have seen Francesco make progress and take responsibility. Believe me, in all the decisions about the changes we made in the spring, between those who left and those who arrived, Francesco had a weight that he probably didn't even think he had. I talk to Guido every day and many times he gave me the opinions Francesco had given him. Francesco was instrumental in helping us bring Claudio Ranieri to Rome. He also had a great impact on the search for the new coach, giving us many useful tips. I have already said this in my letter a few weeks ago and it is true: some of the best ideas in the evaluations of different coaches came from Francesco. We work as a team and make decisions as a team and Francesco took part in all the sporting decisions we made, especially since Monchi left. Everyone knows that Francesco was a player, so if there is someone better than him in judging a player we are interested in then I would like to meet him. Indeed, when I went to dinner with some members of my staff in London on Sunday evening, Franco repeated again how Francesco was able to judge a talent. Since the beginning of the year, Guido and I have been committed to finding a more important role for Francesco within our group because he is able to judge a talent better than any of us. Guido, Franco and I have been 100% aligned on how much we think Francesco is important for Rome. Without a doubt we would like to see Francesco as a fundamental part of our future. Working with the top management of our sports management, he will be able to start writing a new chapter of his career ".
He made no secret of how depressed he was about how things went for Roma last season. How do you feel today?
“I think everyone knows of my dissatisfaction with how it went last season and also of my concerns regarding the previous one despite having reached the Champions League semi-final. In any case, I can say that after the past few weeks of building a new team, with Paulo, a new Sporting Director, a new training team and working to improve many other areas in Rome, I have different feelings. Walking at night through the streets of London, after concluding our conversations with the coach, I felt more enthusiastic about the potential of Rome and its role in the football world than it has ever been before. I hope I can give people more than one chance to notice it and I also hope that people realize how much I care. Maybe I should do something better to prove it but internally there is no one who cares more about me. I look forward to a new future. "