Mancini: ‘Injuries and Covid decisive’

Roma defender Gianluca Mancini says ‘injuries and Covid will decide the Serie A table’ and adds: ‘Fonseca looks very relaxed on the bench but I can ensure you he is not what he seems.’

The Italian defender tested positive for Covid earlier last month.

“We all know it’s a strange season, injuries and Covid will determine the table,” he told Il Corriere dello Sport.

“Juventus have changed their coach and many players, Roma must focus on one game at time, our target is to qualify for the Champions League, we must remain concentrated,” he continued.

“Important players have arrived: Pedro and Chris [Smalling] have given us self-confidence. We have ten important games ahead of us, they’ll make us understand where we can arrive.

“Smalling played 300 games with Manchester United, it means he is strong,” Mancini said.

“His return was important, we are all young defenders and with him we are feeling well. However, if we allow fewer goals it’s not only because of the defence but because we all hep each other.”

The Giallorossi are waiting for another return: that of Nicolò Zaniolo who is out of action for a serious knee injury.

“I’ve known him since we were playing at Fiorentina, he is like my little brother. We miss a player with his qualities.

“We saw him for a few games and he scored that amazing goal against Spal. He is a young player, he is recovering and we are waiting for him with open arms.”

Mancini praised his coach Paulo Fonseca.

“He is very direct person, a worker and a football lover. He studies every little detail, we always know everything about our opponents and that’s very important.

“He works a lot, he transmits his determination and wants us to always remain concentrated.

“If things are not going well he always says it and he is right. We must have the incentive not to make him angry. He looks very relaxed on the bench but I can ensure you he is not what he seems.”

The former Fiorentina defender dreams of an Italy call-up.

“The first thing [Roberto] Mancini told me was: ‘With this surname you can make no mistakes.’ He wants maximum concentration from everyone, we have a mix of you and experienced players that is doing great things.”

The 24-year-old claimed the Friedkins’ arrival was good for the club.

“Things have changed in a better way. They are always in Trigoria, they follow every game. We often speak with them. For a player it is important to feel that the president is close to the team. They know football, they knew everything about us. Ryan speaks a lot with us players,” he concluded.

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