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Fonseca focused on clinching European qualification

Paulo Fonseca spoke to the media on Saturday morning, ahead of Roma's season-ending Serie A meeting with Spezia on Sunday night.

The game in Liguria gets underway at 20:45 CEST.

Here's what the boss had to say ahead of the game, which will be his final one in charge of the Giallorossi.

Sunday’s game has not been talked about much in recent days, but we know how much the ownership want to be playing in Europe next season. Are the players suitably focused?

“I think so. The squad has trained well this week. We want to win in order to qualify for Europe and we want to finish the season well.”

What’s been the highlight of your two years at Roma?

“It’s difficult to pick out a specific moment. Perhaps the most special thing I’ve built here is the relationship I have with you all [the journalists], with the fans, with those I work with here at Trigoria. All of that is built on respect and honesty. Of course, the results are always important, but the relationships you build are too.”

Do you think stripping Edin Dzeko of the captaincy ended up having an adverse effect on him?

“No, I don’t think so. Every team goes through situations like that. We had a meeting to resolve the issue. And I think Dzeko’s most recent performance [against Lazio] underlines that the issue was resolved.”

Have you been disappointed by Pedro’s performances this season?

“Pedro started the campaign really well, but then he had an injury and after that it wasn’t easy to get back to his very best. In the last few games I think he’s been back to the level he was at the start of the season.”

Do you regret a few things?

“I think the team remained united – otherwise we would not have reached a European semi-final, we would not have played the way we did in parts against Manchester United. The squad always kept their ambitions high.”

What’s been the best game of your management here?

“It’s hard to say. I think a lot of people have recognised that the team have generally played a positive, attractive style of football and we did that in a number of games. But it is hard to pick just one.”

Is there one lesson you think you’ve left the squad with?

“The need to retain a balance at all times. I think it’s important to impart that lesson. If you lose, you can’t lose your head. Even if there is always a lot of pressure here.”

How have you improved since coming to Roma?

“In finding that balance, in wanting to always win, in finding ways to react to adversity. And I think that’s something a team always needs to have.”

They say working in this city, for this team, leaves a mark on everyone who does it. Is that true for you as well?

“As I’ve said, it’s always been a great honour for me to be the coach here. The fans have always been so kind to me, we’ve had a great relationship. The same goes for those I’ve worked with here at Trigoria. I will keep all that with me.”

What are you expecting from Spezia tomorrow?

“They are a team that like to play good football. They have a great coach in [Vincenzo] Italiano, who I think has a really bright future ahead of him. It won’t be easy to go up against them, it will be tough, but we want to win and come back with the three points.”

You said Ebrima Darboe has changed the way the team plays. What’s his best quality?

“His courage. He’s an extremely courageous young man.”

 
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