SPAL 1-6 Roma
Paulo Fonseca’s Roma are in fine form as Serie A heads towards its climax, after cruising to an emphatic 6-1 away victory over SPAL on Wednesday evening.
The Giallorossi have taken 13 points from the last 15 available, with the change in the team’s fortunes traceable to Fonseca’s decision to change the tactical set-up earlier this month.
Goals from Nikola Kalinic, Aleksandar Kolarov, Carles Perez, Bruno Peres (2) and a wonderful individual strike from Nicolo Zaniolo gave Roma the points at SPAL and ensured they moved back into 5th place with three matches left to play this season.
“There were a lot of positives,” Fonseca said after the match. “Smalling came back and did well, as did Zaniolo. Kolarov played well, Bruno is improving – they are all important things for the team. We will have to see how everyone is going into the next match, but as I have said before I don’t really want to change things a lot right now.”
System switch changes fortunes
Perhaps equally as pleasing for Fonseca is the impact his tactical switch has had on the side. Faced with the task of arresting a three-match losing streak earlier in the month, Fonseca changed the system to a 3-4-2-1 formation, since when Roma have won four matches and drew against Inter in an impressive showing only after conceding a late penalty.
Speaking earlier this week, Fonseca expressed his pleasure at the improvements and detailed the thinking behind the change, saying: “I’ve seen a step up in quality, the team is learning the new system and we are doing well.
“Leonardo Spinazzola and Bruno Peres are more attacking figures, giving Mkhitaryan and Lorenzo Pellegrini more freedom to influence the game. Jordan Veretout also finds the time to push forward. The team is more balanced, can press higher and that makes us more aggressive.
“Roger Ibanez is a very quick centre-back, he’s doing very well too. I am satisfied with all our central defenders. They all have quality to build from the back as well as defend.
“We’ll see for the rest of the season if we’ll stick with this system, but I am feeling confident with it.”
By Sean Gillen