Roma have confirmed manager Paulo Fonseca will leave the club at the end of the season. Fonseca will leave after two years in charge as the Roma owners gear up for their first managerial appointment since taking over the club.
A return to the Champions League has been the primary objective but the team’s results in Serie A have meant that is out of reach. They could qualify via the Europa League but find themselves with an impossible task in the second leg against Manchester United.
Speculation surrounding Fonseca’s future has mounted for several months and he will hope to end on a high by securing Roma a place in next season’s Europa League.
Paulo Fonseca to Leave Roma at the End of the Season
He Will Depart After Two Years in Charge
The highly respected Portuguese manager took over Roma in 2019 after a successful time in charge of Shaktar Donetsk. His two years in Rome have brought progress in the Europa League but a consistent struggle in Serie A.
His first season in charge saw Roma finish fifth and miss out on a Champions League spot. The team has severely dipped this season in the league with Roma currently sat seventh and facing a real fight to keep their Europa League place. They are just two points clear of eighth place Sassuolo who are breathing down their necks.
Poor league results are likely to be a major factor in the club’s decision to change managers at the end of the season. Their poor domestic campaign means Roma cannot finish in the Champions League places even with four games to play. They’ve won just once in the last eight and that run has seen defeats to struggling sides including Torino, Parma and Cagliari.
Despite their struggles domestically, Fonseca and the team have made progress in the Europa League. They were knocked out at the last 16 stage last season but have reached the semi-finals this time around. However, they have a big deficit to overturn after conceding six in the first leg against Manchester United. They have two away goals but it’s a big ask to reach the final.
Fonseca’s two years in charge have brought mixed success. There have been positives but ultimately football is a results driven business and consistency has been a big problem.
Who Replaces Paulo Fonseca is Anyone’s Guess
This will be the first managerial appointment by the club since Dan Friedkin took over. He stuck by Fonseca when his takeover was confirmed but he knows he must get the next appointment right.
He wants Champions League football and success at the capital club. Maurizio Sarri and Luciano Spalletti have been linked in recent times. Both are vastly experienced managers in Serie A and certainly would be excellent appointments.
Sarri’s CV includes spells at Juventus and Napoli as well as year at Chelsea. He is renowned for playing exciting football coined ‘Sarri-ball’ in the past. Arguably, Sarri’s best spell in management was at Napoli where he guided them to consistent top four finishes and regular Champions League football. He would fit the bill especially after collecting his first league title in 2020 at Juventus. According to Sky Italy, he is the favourite to replace Fonseca.
Another potential candidate is Luciano Spalletti. Another vastly experienced manager who is no stranger to the club. Spalletti has been in charge of the capital club twice before with his previous spell ending in 2017. He knows how to bring success too having guided Roma to consecutive Coppa Italia titles in 2007 and 2008. His second spell during the 2016/17 season saw Spalletti guide Roma to the Champions League once again.
Both Sarri and Spalletti would be strong appointments but Roma could look for a younger coach. One potential candidate who fits that bill is Sassuolo manager Roberto De Zerbi. De Zerbi has done an excellent job with the Neroverdi bringing an enterprising style of football and consistent top half finishes.
He is out of contract at the end of the season so Roma could potentially explore that avenue but Sassuolo will be determined to keep their talented coach.
It’s a Case of Securing Europa League Football Before the Season Ends
Before the club focus on the future, there is still five games left for Roma this season. Four in the league and a second leg Europa League semi-final. Their primary focus will be ensuring a top seven finish and a place in Europe.
They face four crucial league fixtures and importantly for them, it is in their own hands. Roma take on Crotone, Inter Milan, Lazio and Spezia with the aim of securing European football. Already relegated Crotone provide a great chance for Roma to get back to winning ways while recently crowned champions Inter Milan may drop off with the title secured. However, pride is on the line when they face Lazio in Fonseca’s final home game. While Spezia need the points themselves to ensure survival in Serie A.
It’s a tough finish to the season and Fonseca’s team need to pick the points with Sassuolo in pursuit and in good form. Fonseca’s time may be coming to an end but he will want to finish on a high. He’s done the best job he can but ultimately poor results in the league have led to his demise.
A crucial summer lies ahead for Roma as they search to replace Paulo Fonseca begins. It’s a vital appointment the club must get right to achieve their ambition of Champions League football.
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