Paulo Fonseca praised Roma for their reaction in the comeback win away to Ajax, but also slammed the media for ‘incredible lies’ about team bust-ups.
The Europa League quarter-final started badly with two errors gifting Davy Klaassen the opening goal, then Roger Ibanez brought down Dusan Tadic for a penalty, which Pau Lopez saved.
That proved the turning point, as the Giallorossi went on to win 2-1 with a Lorenzo Pellegrini free kick and Roger Ibanez half-volley.
“It was an important victory, especially after all the injury problems that we’ve had,” Fonseca told Sky Sport Italia, having also lost Leonardo Spinazzola tonight.
“Ajax are a great team, as we saw tonight, but the lads put in a wonderful performance. Qualification is still open, but winning here was very important.
“I think the team realised this is a tough moment and gave their all, especially after Spinazzola’s injury, as he had been playing so well.
“We were always aware that we could score goals here, the team felt confident even during difficult moments. It’s a big victory.
“It was a match of great intensity and tension, but we did what we prepared.”
Roma again gifted goals by playing out from the back with some costly errors.
“It’s true, the disappointing thing is that we often make it difficult for ourselves. We had controlled Ajax’s attacks and they are one of the best teams in Europe going forward. The important thing was we never let our heads drop, we kept going and reacted.”
Fonseca was asked why Roma seem to do better in the Europa League than in Serie A.
“I don’t like alibis or excuses, but we mustn’t forget that Roma have been in the top four almost the whole season. There was a moment when we lost important players like Veretout, Mkhitaryan or Smalling. It wasn’t easy.”
However, the coach did lose his temper when asked about this week’s reports of another bust-up between the squad and their tactician.
“I have to do my work, I cannot control criticism. What disappoints me is when there are lies and there have been a lot of them.
“I am not Italian, so I don’t understand why Roma, who are the only team representing Italy in Europe this week, should be surrounded by all these incredible lies. At this moment, we all ought to be encouraging and helping the Italian team.
“This week there was all sorts of chaos created with this incredible lie, the idea that the players confronted me and we had some meeting before training. It’s all a lie, it’s not right.
“I cannot control any of that, I can only control my work and that is what I’m doing.”