Fonseca: ‘Cristante captain against Juve’

Roma coach Paulo Fonseca confirmed Bryan Cristante will get the captaincy against Juventus tomorrow and said Edin Dzeko has ‘trained well’.

All eyes are on Dzeko, as the Bosnian has returned to training with the Giallorossi ahead of their big game with the Old Lady.

But despite the veteran returning to the group after the controversy, Fonseca has confirmed he has been stripped of the captaincy in the capital.

“I can’t say more about Dzeko than what [sporting director] Tiago [Pinto] said,” Fonseca said at a press conference. “He trained well. But Cristante will be the captain tomorrow.”

Reports in Italy expect Dzeko to start on the bench against Juventus, as Fonseca hopes to build on their back-to-back wins in Serie A.

“What reinforces the group are the wins and the work in training,” Fonseca continued when asked about Dzeko’s presence.

Roma sit third in Serie A, one place above the Bianconeri, and Fonseca doesn’t like to compare the two sides.

“I don’t like these kinds of comparisons; they are two different teams. They are very strong and have a great coach,” Fonseca added.

“Different from the one who started the season. They are more dynamic and confident, they have great individuals.

“But we are in a good moment, we are confident.”

Borja Mayoral should start up front again and Fonseca praised the Spanish forward.

“I know what he can do, he has quality and he is playing well,” the coach continued and added that Roma might play with three in midfield: “It can be a solution.”

The Portuguese coach confirmed Antonio Mirante will be called up, but said Pau Lopez will continue in goal for the Giallorossi.

“Mirante will be there, but Pau plays,” he said, before speaking about the absentees, with Chris Smalling and Pedro Rodriguez out.

Stephan El Shaarawy participated in training yesterday, but will not be called up for the big game.

“El Shaarawy will not be there. Pedro played good games at the beginning, but then he got injured.

“He’s an important player for the team, I like him a lot.”

Fonseca said Gonzalo Villar can play both as an attacking and defensive midfielder.

“He has the characteristics to play deeper, close to our defenders, but he also has those characteristics to play higher up the pitch. He can play both roles.”

The first leg against Juventus ended in a 2-2 draw and Fonseca sees an improved Juventus this time.

“They have had more time to work and Juve are now better on the pitch,” he added. “They are deeper and more dynamic.

“They also have the individuals we know. They are stronger than the team we faced in the first leg.

“I will ask for what I always ask for; ambition.”


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