Fonseca: ‘No Roma alibis with Napoli’

Paulo Fonseca warns Roma he does not want ‘alibis’ after their Europa League strain and injuries. ‘Napoli are one of the best teams in Italy.’

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The scheduling has caused controversy, as Napoli managed to get their midweek game with Juventus postponed, whereas the Giallorossi only returned to Italy on Friday morning after beating Shakhtar Donetsk in Kiev on Thursday night.

“What I want to say is that we are ready, we rested some players, I don’t want alibis. I expect a good performance,” said Fonseca in his press conference.

Roma are the only Italian side left in European competition and will face Ajax in the Europa League quarter-finals.

“We are in good shape and proud of what we’ve achieved in Europe, but we have to focus on Serie A and Napoli now.”

Despite that success, Fonseca’s future still depends on whether he manages to secure a Champions League spot next season, with continuing reports on potential replacements.

“I am not concerned, I remain focused on the present and tomorrow’s game. Napoli were able to beat Milan last week, so in my view they are one of the best teams in Italy. They like to take the initiative and also defend very well.”

The injury crisis drags on in the Roma camp, with Chris Smalling, Jordan Veretout, Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Juan Jesus long-term absentees, plus Bruno Peres suspended.

“Smalling will not need knee surgery, we have to deal with him day by day. I cannot think about who is not available, even if they are important players. Hopefully we’ll have them all back after the break for international duty.

“There is a different strategy for every game, but our identity must not change. I want to keep the initiative, be an attacking team and go for it.”

Bryan Cristante has found a new lease of life as a centre-back in the three-man Roma defence.

“He is doing very well and this is the right spirit, because he plays where we need him.”

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