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Fonseca: Mistakes in final third but attitude was encouraging

Coach Paulo Fonseca bemoaned mistakes in the final third as Roma fell to a 2-0 defeat against Juventus on Saturday evening.

The Giallorossi fell to defeat after an early finish from Cristiano Ronaldo and second half own goal from Roger Ibanez, despite dominating possession for large swathes of the match.

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

A lot of the ball, but not much of a cutting edge in front of goal: is that a fair assessment?

“We weren’t just solid in the first part of the match, but for the majority of the game. But we can’t forget that we were playing Juventus. They defended really well.

"The statistics are the statistics, but the team that scored goals won the game. We may have had more shots, more corners, more possession – but the team that scores, wins.”

Do you think there was a difference in quality between the two attacks tonight?

“I would rather reflect on the overall performance of the team. We showed courage to come here and play the game the way we wanted to. That being said, we were playing Juve, who defended well in front of their box, using a lot of men to do so. It was tough. We made mistakes with the final pass, but in the other areas we did pretty well.”

What did you make of Edin Dzeko’s performance?

“All the players did well.”

Were you reluctant to put Dzeko alongside Borja Mayoral in the second half?

“The team has not really worked on playing with two strikers. Now, of course there are always moments where it could make sense, but I didn’t think that we needed to do it tonight.”

Cristiano Ronaldo was much sharper than others in front of goal...

“Yes, and that’s why he is the best in the world. A player like him makes the difference. I can’t say that we were to blame this time: he’s Ronaldo.”

Did you expect Juventus to defend as deep as they did?

“No, and I think they had to do that because we did not allow them to adopt any other approach. At the start Juve tried to press us, but our build-up was good and didn’t allow them to do that successfully. And so they had to drop deeper.”

If you could play the game again, would you start Dzeko instead?

“No. Dzeko was fit to start. He didn’t start because there was another option: Borja is playing well, and today he worked really hard for the team.”

Roma seemed to be too concerned with not making any mistakes on the ball – did you perhaps need to gamble a bit more, at the risk of making a mistake, to really cause Juventus problems?

“We didn’t have a lot of situations where the Juve defence were not already well organised. We got into the final third a lot and, yes, at that point we made mistakes with our final decisions: the crosses or the final pass. That’s where the difference was, where we made mistakes. We had a lot of openings that we could have made something of.”

What do you think of the overall level of this Roma side?

“There are no moral victories in football, but I am proud of my team. The players showed great character. To come here and play with as much courage and conviction as we did gives me a lot of confidence for the future.”

 
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