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Press conference: Perez and Florenzi top of the agenda as Fonseca previews Sassuolo trip

Coach Paulo Fonseca faced the media at Trigoria on Friday afternoon, ahead of the weekend's Serie A clash with Sassuolo.

The game at the Mapei Stadium gets underway at 20:45 (CET) on Saturday.

Here's what the boss had to say about the game - as he also faced a number of questions about the club's recent transfer activity.

There has been quite a lot of business done at the club this month. How do you rate your January transfer business?
"As you know, we've signed three young players, [Roger] Ibanez, [Gonzalo] Villar and [Carles] Perez, with the future of the club in mind. [Alessandro] Florenzi has joined Valencia on loan for four months. I've always said that I don't like the January transfer window because it's not easy to find players. I think you either have to sign players that are experienced and ready to slot into the team or focus on the future. The three players we've signed are prospects for the future.

"I have to speak a bit about Florenzi, because I know there'll be lots of questions about him today. We had a very calm, direct conversation. He's a great professional and he's always shown a captain's mentality. He told me he wanted to play more, which is something I can't promise to anyone. He had an opportunity to go to Valencia and he made the decision to go there."

You're coming off the back of a very good performance against Lazio in the derby. Sassuolo usually look to play an attacking game against the big teams - is that an advantage for you?

"Sassuolo are one of my favourite teams. They play with bravery and they have a lot of quality going forward. If you allow them to play it's tough going. I'm hoping for an open game because both teams like playing football and attacking."

Roma's lack of a killer instinct in the box was again on show against Lazio. Are you going to be able to put that right?
"We all hope so. The team is creating a lot of chances, but I have to be honest - the ability to decide what to do at the last minute is something that the more experienced players have. [Justin] Kluivert and Cengiz [Under] are young players and with time I think they'll improve that side of their game. As I've always said, the team is creating a lot of chances to score goals. We need to improve by working hard, as we are doing."

Would you have preferred a permanent move away for Florenzi? Have you decided that he no longer has a key role to play in the future of the club? Could he come back if he has a good six months?
"Alessandro just wanted to play more. The Euros are at the end of the season. The player spoke to me and the club. The opportunity that arose looked like a good solution. We've not thought about the future. We'll see how the player performs, at international level too, then we'll see. We're not thinking about next season."

Are any of the three new signings ready to play? Could they be involved against Sassuolo?
"They're all available for the game. They won't start but they could come off the bench. They've not trained with the squad much, but we've spoken to them and it may be that we need them to play."

You and Gianluca Petrachi have said that Nikola Kalinic is not for sale. Is that still the case? Will he stay at Roma?
"Yes, I can confirm that. It's not easy to find a striker right now. Kalinic has six months of work with us - it's not easy to bring in a new quality striker right now and they would need time to adapt to our style of play. If we make a change it needs to be for a player that's ready to play. And right now that's not easy."

Have you been able to speak to Pau Lopez? How is he?
"No, I've not spoken to Pau Lopez. It was a technical issue, so Marco Sovrani spoke to him. I don't need to speak to Pau because he's a great keeper. There's no need for me to let him know I have faith in him. He already knows I do. I don't need to speak to him."

Do you think that the fans' favourite players should be kept at all costs?
"The fans' passion is for Roma first and foremost. If a player is loved by the fans, it's normal that it happens that way. What else can I say? It's normal for the fans to like players who are from Rome and have grown up here. If they're sad because Florenzi has left the club I understand that - I think their emotion is a positive thing."

Roma currently have Davide Santon, Bruno Peres, Davide Zappacosta and Leonardo Spinazzola at full-back. Are you happy with those four?
"Santon is in good form. Bruno Peres is improving every day - he's very strong going forward. Cetin isn't a full-back but he can play there if we need to do more defending in certain games. Spinazzola can play on the right too, though he doesn't much like it there. We have four options at the moment."

According to your footballing philosophy, should Roma adapt to their opponents or the other way around?
"Both can happen. It depends on how the other team plays. There might be a need to adapt to the style of our opponents, but our identity must not change."

Florenzi seemed really down to be leaving yesterday. How do you feel about it all? Are you disappointed that you could find a key role for him in the team?
"I spoke to Florenzi and told him that I always got on with him and had a good relationship with him - as a captain and as a great professional. I really admire his attitude. I understand football - that's the way it is. Today it's Florenzi, tomorrow it'll be another player. That's football. I need to think of solutions for the team. I've always wanted the best for Florenzi. My personal relationship with the players isn't linked to the number of matches they play, so from that point of view I can assure you that I didn't have any problems with him. I wish him every happiness."

Carles Perez came up through the ranks at Barcelona. Is there a risk that he could struggle to adapt to Italian football?
"Carles' attributes are well-suited to our style of play. He has a good base that means it'll be easier for him to slot into our system. He has a lot of quality so I don't think we'll have any problems."
Source: As Roma
Friday January 31, 2020
 
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