Fonseca: ‘Parma always difficult for Roma’

Paulo Fonseca confirms he will have to rotate his Roma squad against Parma, but Henrikh Mkhitaryan is out. ‘It’s always difficult at the Tardini.’

It kicks off on Sunday at 14.00 GMT.

The mood in the Giallorossi camp is positive after Thursday’s 3-0 Europa League win over Shakhtar Donetsk, even though Henrikh Mkhitaryan limped off with a calf injury.

“Some players are more tired than others, so there will be some rotation, but we don’t have that many options either,” said the coach in his press conference.

“Edin Dzeko and Borja Mayoral are both available, but I won’t say who will start. Lorenzo Pellegrini is a very important player for us, he can take on various different roles and is so intelligent.

“Victories bring confidence, being captain brings confidence. It’s a bit of everything that combines to help. I will give you one clue, Pedro will play tomorrow. He was decisive on Thursday with the assist for Pellegrini’s goal and had a very good game, so I don’t know why people say he is struggling.

“Stephan El Shaarawy is a different player to the others in the squad, which is why we brought him to Roma. I realise there is pressure on him, but we must give him time to work and integrate after a year in which he hasn’t played very much football.”

Roma impressed in the Europa League on Thursday and have one foot in the quarter-finals.

“The aggressive attitude we showed against Shakhtar was very important, but we did that in other games too. It’s crucial that the players realise how important that is and we must improve the consistency of its application.

“I watched Parma’s 3-3 draw with Fiorentina and they are in a difficult situation, so every game is like a final for them.

“It’s always difficult to play at the Stadio Tardini, as they are solid and can hurt you on the counter.”

After Napoli agreed with Juventus to postpone their upcoming game until April 7, a social media campaign has been created by Roma fans calling for their own fixture with Napoli to be delayed as well.

“Honestly, I don’t like to comment when I don’t know the real reasons for the postponement. What I do know as a coach is that preparing three games in a week is not the same as preparing a game against Napoli just days after a trip to Ukraine.

“If they ask me as Roma coach why they postponed Juve-Napoli, it is difficult for me to answer. If I was in Gennaro Gattuso’s position, I probably wouldn’t have wanted to play then either.”

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