Eusebio Di Francesco feeling the pressure at Roma

Chloe Beresford by Chloe Beresford / 24 September 2018, 12:46

Having finished in mid-table for the last three consecutive seasons, Bologna decided that a change was necessary.

They removed boss Roberto Donadoni, replacing him with former AC Milan striker Pippo Inzaghi, who had done well with Venezia FC. Yet after four matches, that decision looked to have been a foolish one, as Bologna had earned just one point and had failed to score a single goal.

Ahead of a tough match with AS Roma this weekend, Inzaghi was issued with the dreaded vote of confidence from the board and it looked like his days were numbered. In a 1-0 defeat to Genoa the week before, the Rossoblu had failed to register a single shot on target and on Sunday they were set to face a side who had reached the Champions League semi-finals the season before.

Yet after the match, it was not Inzaghi who was facing talk of the sack.

Bologna had pulled off a shock 2-0 win versus a clueless Giallorossi side, Eusebio Di Francesco’s men putting in an abject display in which they never truly looked like scoring. US website RomaPress contacted club owner James Pallotta after the match, the Boston-based businessman confessing that he was “disgusted” with the display.

Roma have accrued just five points from their opening five matches, and also lost 3-0 to Real Madrid in the Champions League last week, supporters clearly angry with the way the side have started the campaign. Yet after success with Sassuolo and with Roma last term, it is clear that he has not just become a bad Coach overnight.

Player sales have been the only constant at the club in recent times, however the arrival of transfer wizard Monchi was supposed to have alleviated the pressure of the departures, his selling high and buying low philosophy having worked miracles at former club Sevilla.

“Di Francesco is one of the best Coaches coming through in Italian football,” former Roma boss Claudio Ranieri told Radio Anch’io Sport. “He did very well at Sassuolo and also at Roma last season, but he’s lost the backbone of his team this season.

“He needs to stimulate his group so they can get to the bottom of their problems. I hope he’ll be allowed to do the work he deserves to do. When a Coach signs a contract, he’ll know his team’s philosophy. Di Francesco knew what he was signing up for.”

While there is no doubt that the loss of players such as Radja Nainggolan, Alisson and Kevin Strootman, coupled with sales of Antonio Rudiger and Mohamed Salah the summer before has made life difficult for the Coach. However, anyone who has watched the Giallorossi this season will know that “EDF” looks like the Captain of a ship without a rudder, a man lost and clueless about how to turn things around.

During his formative years at Sassuolo, he became wedded to the 4-3-3 system, but currently he seems undecided about both his system and team selection. It is a time where nothing is going right for Roma, but it remains to be seen whether he can turn things around for them.

What’s for sure is that Di Francesco is on thin ice, with Antonio Conte and former Fiorentina boss Paulo Sousa already being touted in the Italian press as potential replacements. The Giallorossi now face a must-win clash versus a determined Frosinone side in midweek, then a huge Rome derby fixture versus Lazio at the weekend.

These two matches are surely set to determine the boss’ future at the club, and he must now fix the increasingly clear problems in a very short space of time.

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Paul Hurst
Paul Hurst
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