So what's next for Roma?

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Post by McLewis Thu Dec 11, 2014 10:02 pm

Not gonna beat around the bush here. I'm quite disappointed with the result yesterday. Not because City were better and not because we didn't rise to the occasion. We never should have had to in the first place. Prior to this game, no one could've told me that we wouldn't be good enough to beat City. Given the obvious quality that this side has, I don't think anyone else thought that either outside of the City fans. We didn't lose this game because we weren't good enough from a footballing perspective. We lost this game because we weren't good enough from a tactical perspective.

Unfortunately, I think that's on Rudi a bit more than it's on the players so let's rewind a bit.

2013-14 Roma was a 90 minute side that had the foot on the pedal the entire game, running themselves into the ground in swashbuckling style. 2014-15 Roma is a cagier, unsure, and tentative version of that magnificent side. We can go on about injuries and absences, but I do think a mentality shift has taken hold. Despite his bullishness in the media, I think this has began with Rudi himself. He seems less confident these days and much more cautious. This has born out much more on the pitch than I ever thought it would.

The goal we conceded to CSKA was allowed because Garcia gave this side implicit instructions to sit back and absorb pressure. CSKA are a decent side at best, but when you invite teams like that to come forward and attack you, you have to expect goals will be conceded. And so that came to pass. The same occurred with Napoli a month back and so it happened with City yesterday. We attacked them toe-to-toe in that first half and then came out in the 2nd and simply sat back, stopped attacking and let them come forward. With a porous defense and a keeper out of form facing one of the better teams on the continent, that is tactical suicide. Truly mind-boggling from Rudi and I'm struggling to understand why this is happening so I went back to his CL games with Lille. Unsurprisingly, I saw the same thing unfold as Lille sat back and invite the likes of United to come forward and take control of the game, eventually coughing up goals in the process. This is precisely what is happening right now and it's frankly inexplicable.

So what can we do going forward? Well we need to get healthy and re-discover our belief most importantly. This is still not the Roma of years gone by, when we would crumble and implode at a moment's notice. This also isn't the side that would either win big or lose big. The quality there. I firmly believe that. The players fully believed they were on City's level. So did the fans. Everyone believed this except for the man who really needed to believe it the most. That's as damaging to this club as any of the goals Bayern scored.

I want the scudetto more than anything this season because this is the the best chance we have in winning it. Rudi says this, but does he really believe it? What transpired last night really gives me pause to think he does and if there's anything that can derail a team...that's it.

Thoughts?
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Post by BarrileteCosmico Thu Dec 11, 2014 10:46 pm

Are you really at City's level though? Even with an injured Agüero, City have more quality at every line except midfield. I can see how the fans could be convinced they were equal, City are nothing special in the CL, but when City get over their mental block I think they're objectively the better team. That being said, Roma could still have qualified had they won against CSKA away.

I think the best course for Roma would be to take the EL seriously, get those UEFA coefficient points and ensure that they don't end up in the group of death again.
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Post by dostoevsky Thu Dec 11, 2014 11:24 pm

What happens next is the hardest question one can ever ask about a side as fickle as Roma, however I believe the main issue at hand is to accept that crashing out was not good enough but that it's not a reflection on the team's potential. Borussia Dortmund were highly disappointing in their first Champions League campaign under Klopp but came back with a vengeance in the following years. City struggled for years, Liverpool have also fallen short having finished second in their domestic league and Juventus have similarly struggled to replicate their domestic success.

This comes down to holding to the course and continuing to invest in Rudi's project. There has been something wrong with Roma for nearly two months now however there's no cancer in the club, they just need to play the waiting game. Roma have a team that can succeed in European football however they need to address their injury issues in defence, address an issue of quality at fullback and goalkeeper and avoid dismantling the side in the transfer market. BC does raise an important issue about quality though, especially in attack. Totti looked his age against City, Destro seems to want to leave and the likes of Gervinho, Ljajic and Iturbe are profligate in front of goal. It may be a strength to not rely on just one striker however at the moment the spread of responsibility appears to be encouraging players to avoid it rather than assume it.
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Post by Forza Thu Dec 11, 2014 11:52 pm

I think Roma made some excellent progress last season, but the players who were sold were not replaced. Roma have good depth, but unfortunately you have the better players sitting on the bench and the 2nd team on the field at the moment. Strootman is out for Nainggolan and De Rossi is out for Keita.

Yanga-Mbiwa is decent, but he's no Benatia and other injuries (Castan) and selling off defenders (Dodo) has hurt Roma. Totti is ageing, but is still being asked to carry the team up front. Destro isn't yet ready to step into Totti's enormous shoes.

Then there's the elephant in the room - Iturbe. He cost about 30 million euros and has done close to nothing for Roma this season. I can't blame Roma for purchasing him because he was incredible last season for Hellas Verona, but I was quite sure that he was overpriced at the time of the transfer due to the bidding war with Juventus.
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Post by Hapless_Hans Thu Dec 11, 2014 11:56 pm

I think City are really being underrated. They have been underperforming in Europe, but to say "Prior to this game, no one could've told me that we wouldn't be good enough to beat City. Given the obvious quality that this side has, I don't think anyone else thought that either outside of the City fans" is a bit puzzling to me.

I think you're misjudging your teams overall quality compared to City's here. English champions, full of world class footballers. Not that Roma isn't strong either, but City is not to be taken lightly.
Nevertheless overall I think Roma did very well though, you could've very well progressed from the group which arguably was the strongest of any groups.
But a certain home game broke your spirit :coffee:

So basically, I second BC's post.
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Post by StrugaRock Fri Dec 12, 2014 12:22 am

A fresh blood in defense during the winter break, and we have ourselves a better race for the Serie A. And for a change I would love to see Roma break the dull and noncompetitive Serie A, and beat Juve to the title. That and I would love to see Totti with another Serie A, legends like him deserve it.

This season maybe they should opt for EL too, they could get lucky and win it, and next year hope for a lucky draw in the group stage.
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Post by Dante Fri Dec 12, 2014 12:30 am

Nice points in this thread. I also have to agree with the OP on Garcia . Proved less than the occasion demanded , but let's be honest , it's never easy for teams who re-enter the CL after a certain absence regardless of what the coach seems to be doing in each case , like Dosto very well mentioned .

I do believe Roma had everything it takes to get into the 16 . Am i surprised they didn't ? I am surprised they lost to City 0-2 on their home . I expected much more than that , even if it never crossed my mind that a defeat was out of the question. It was always a possibility , yet Roma rightfully went out after i thought they were just there. It was always going to be a very difficult group stage and let's not forget City had their fair share of those. They had no fear of Roma in that last match . Roma on the other hand , after the defeat to Bayern , they seemed exposed and it was probably a long way coming . Not that particular score of course , but a defeat that would reveal their issues. Nothing permanental though , i would say. I still believe we are yet to see the best side of Roma , which will well make up for all of this .

I'd say what's next for Roma will be about targeting at least one major trophy come the end of the season . Serie A , or the Europa League. If Juventus does have a good CL season , it may or may not affect their progress in the league. Playing it safe Roma should target Serie A in any case , but European football has that appeal that everyone wants. I personally believe Roma will end up going for the EL , because Juventus will be out again at 8 and focus fully on Serie A once again.

In the end , i think Roma should continue as is , strengthen a bit maybe in January and get a few important players back and that's that. Group elimination sucks but the team is quality , it will pay back sooner or later. In the EL , Roma is at the very least semi-finals material . Going after a European trophy will be too good to pass up , i am almost convinced Roma can have a great season in the EL. Which will also prove to be , if they do succeed to reach at least the semis , an incredibly valuable experience for Garcia and the players , going forward.
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Post by McLewis Fri Dec 12, 2014 10:06 am

For those of you with the mind that I have underestimated or underrated City, I can assure you that I have not. I know what quality they have and what they have the potential to do. That said, we may not be at their level as an organization, but from a footballing perspective, we were for 3 halves out of 4. Of that, I can't be convinced otherwise. We got in behind them several times and had a raft of chances. You don't get that if you're not at a team's level. We didn't see that in either leg against, Bayern...the one team this season that truly out-matched us in every way.

This isn't about just City though.

They are manifestation of the symptom of the problems Roma face this season. Rudi has to find an answer for why he is allowing this team to sit back and stop taking the initiative when the game is there for the taking. That is what is losing us games, not the injuries, not the suspensions and not the opponents pedigree.

That is a problem that will not go away unless Rudi wills it away.
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Post by sportsczy Fri Dec 12, 2014 12:32 pm

Losing Benatia and the defense losing overall quality period are the biggest culprits... De Rossi, who is the one to cover the back 4, is aging also.

You can't play the attacking high line that Garcia wants to play unless the back 4 are athletic at the CB position minimum and the ball recovery CM has to be really good. Actually, Garcia prefers to put two ball recovery CMs in front of the two CBs and have the fullbacks bomb into the attack.

If Garcia feels that his CBs/CMs that are supposed to protect the defense aren't good enough... then he compromises his style and plays more conservatively. Same thing happened at Lille with all the turnover. They were gorgeous to watch when you had Rami/Chedjou with younger Balmont/Mavuba to cover. You also had Bastos and Debuchy bombing forward from fullback.

That's the whole basis for his style. It starts with the abilities of the back 4 and the 2 covering CMs. The rest is a result of how these 6 set up.
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Post by McLewis Fri Dec 12, 2014 2:21 pm

Well injuries and attrition will happen to any and every club. And yet the best ones still manage to keep winning the games they're supposed to win. Roma should be among them. Benatia was perhaps the best defender we've had since the days of Juan and filling that void has been tricky, but I personally think Manolas has the ability to do it. He's already shown that he's worth the money paid for him. It's the loss of Castan that has truly hurt our defense as not only is he now our best CB, he's also the leader back there by default.

Full-back isn't at all a surprise as that's been our weak point for over a decade. Maicon has done a fantastic job at RB so far, but it's really telling that he's our best RB since Cafu. And LB? Riise was perhaps our last great player in that position and that's saying something considering how he found his way to us. Holebas is solid, but unspectacular (Inter goal notwithstanding) and Cole is just...yeah..

If we look further ahead we could indeed argue that DDR is on the decline, but the lack of depth in midfield (solely due to injury) is probably most to blame. Strootman's loss was a heavy one, but it ultimately forced Rudi to play Nainggolan much more than a coach should ever play a midfielder. We're lucky Ninja has amazing stamina in that regard. The fallout from this further has called for Pjanic to play more defensively, especially against teams who press in midfield. He's not a pivot player naturally, but Rudi has done well in making him into one. One saving grace is Keita, who has been able to provide some excellent coverage, but we're likely to lose him for AFCON, meaning we're going to have to play a still recovering Strootman much more. This is a chance for Ucan and Paredes to make their mark.

So having looked at these players, I agree that they all fit how Rudi wants them to play (we've seen how well this works in the games we win), but I'm still befuddled. Rudi just doesn't seem to have an answer for teams that press us. That was true with Lille and that's true now. If we're going to breakout beyond what we've done so far, we've got to figure out how to handle those types of sides.
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Post by Art Morte Fri Dec 12, 2014 2:58 pm

I'm a little surprised by the subdued tone in this thread about Roma. I think they're doing very well and have built an impressive team while the club isn't as attractive to players as maybe a dozen other clubs in Europe are.

Roma made it back to the CL and are on course to be there again next season. And failing to progress from a group that had Bayern and Man City isn't awful, either.

What next for Roma? Keep doing what they've been doing.
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Post by sportsczy Fri Dec 12, 2014 4:21 pm

Rudi is Wenger basically... that's his mentality.  He has a style and a philosophy which he will win or lose with.  So if his teams have a significant talent deficit against a side and he loses the midfield battle, his teams will always struggle.  His teams look beautiful against lesser and teams he's on equal footing though...

so the solution is, like Wenger, to give him a squad where he doesn't have to compromise against anyone.  Not sure Roma can do that.

Guardiola is like this too btw except that he's got the best talent on his squad 99% of the time.  Watching Bielsa at OM, he seems similar which is why OM lost against Lyon and PSG this season.

As a whole, i think this is the main downside with managers who have a set philosophy as opposed to the pragmatists.
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Post by Hapless_Hans Fri Dec 12, 2014 5:59 pm

Just like players need CL experience, coaches need it too.
It's got very little to with concepts like 'philosophy' vs 'pragmatism', which is a notion that is questionable to say the least.
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Post by McLewis Fri Dec 12, 2014 6:30 pm

Art Morte wrote:I'm a little surprised by the subdued tone in this thread about Roma. I think they're doing very well and have built an impressive team while the club isn't as attractive to players as maybe a dozen other clubs in Europe are.

Roma made it back to the CL and are on course to be there again next season. And failing to progress from a group that had Bayern and Man City isn't awful, either.

What next for Roma? Keep doing what they've been doing.


Believe me, the overall optimism among Romanisti remains rather high. I am simply taking a more tempered approach to that optimism as with Romanisti, it can often turn into arrogance (as we saw pre-Bayern 1st leg). Many fans (myself included) remain behind Rudi. He has done nowhere near enough to warrant a loss of faith honestly, but I also won't blindly ignore what is pretty clear to me though. There is a reason why we're falling at the last hurdle when it comes to measuring up against bigger sides. It's great that we're beating the sides we should be beating (most of the time anyway), but that only gets you so far when you have the ambition that a club like Roma have. That needs to be remembered amid all of this optimism about how far we've come.
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Post by McLewis Fri Dec 12, 2014 6:39 pm

sportsczy wrote:Rudi is Wenger basically... that's his mentality.  He has a style and a philosophy which he will win or lose with.  So if his teams have a significant talent deficit against a side and he loses the midfield battle, his teams will always struggle.  His teams look beautiful against lesser and teams he's on equal footing though...

so the solution is, like Wenger, to give him a squad where he doesn't have to compromise against anyone.  Not sure Roma can do that.

Guardiola is like this too btw except that he's got the best talent on his squad 99% of the time.  Watching Bielsa at OM, he seems similar which is why OM lost against Lyon and PSG this season.

As a whole, i think this is the main downside with managers who have a set philosophy as opposed to the pragmatists.


Yeah I've seen this comparison made more than once. Some of it is true, no doubt.

Ultimately, I don't think Rudi is as stubborn as Wenger though about his philosophy, though he tries hard to get us thinking otherwise. That 2nd leg against Bayern showed that, much to my relief, he can see reason and does know how to mitigate the damage when needed.
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Post by sk3ptical Fri Dec 12, 2014 7:16 pm

we had 4 players missing :coffee:
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Post by gb Fri Dec 12, 2014 7:31 pm

For me, Roma's main concern lies with the players and coaches belief in themselves. No doubt have we built a formidable squad but its nothing compared to the likes of the top top teams and it showed when we played them. Our belief in ourselves borderlines naivete at times when we expect players such as Holebas and MYM to cover the likes of Robben, Muller, Silva and Aguero. We can play our brand of football against the likes of Milan, Inter and even Juventus but when we play teams of Bayern's caliber we must adapt and be more well organized in defense.
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Post by Dante Fri Dec 12, 2014 8:17 pm

Truth be told , Holebas is a very good LB , but i agree . You can't hope to contain players of the highest order with players of such level. That's not to say Holebas and such players aren't usefull for an ambitious team like Roma. A team cannot be filled with stars , realisticaly speaking .

Then again , Atletico Madrid and Dortmund have proved in recent times that big names and achieved players only mean so much when put against a well constructed unit . It's the same with Roma . Roma just have to get there and they need time for this to happen. I'd say they are well on cource to realise that goal , of course they won't get there without ups and downs , obviously .

I would say , keep the Holebas , maybe get a few more , but also get that 'Robben' too . Find the right mix and achieve balance , that's where it's at really . It should also make it easier for Garcia , truth be told .
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Post by gb Fri Dec 12, 2014 8:29 pm

Holebas has been impressive these past few weeks for us but that's not enough to label him a very good lb. We need players that provide quality consistently acoss all areas of the pitch if Rudi wants to be stubborn and only implement his philisophy and only our midfield and Totti provide that.
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Post by Dante Fri Dec 12, 2014 9:09 pm

gb wrote:Holebas has been impressive these past few weeks for us but that's not enough to label him a very good lb. We need players that provide quality consistently acoss all areas of the pitch if Rudi wants to be stubborn and only implement his philisophy and only our midfield and Totti provide that.


I'm greek , i've seen Holebas in Olympiacos and with the NT for years and years. When i say he's a very good LB and use the words very good , i say it because he's really very good in what he does. If i wanted to mean he's around the best , or what Roma trully should be after , i'd use other terms.

He's not amongst the best and Roma should have better in theory. But that doesn't necessarily make him a bad LB . Holebas will serve Roma well in Serie A and if Roma happens to get a better LB , he will still serve Roma from the bench just as well. He's a very good LB for what he does , that's what i meant. There are better LBs out there , that doesn't make him bad.

That goes for other Roman players as well. Naingollan is a bit above Holebas' very good description . Still , he's nowhere near the best midfielders in his role . But is he very good at what he does. I would say he is , regardless . Roma need more of that like any ambitious team does and obviously some of the trully top class players.

You need the right mix , the Holebas and the Robbens of this world can find themselves in the same team , that's what i am saying here. Roma is doing it right .
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Post by gb Fri Dec 12, 2014 9:38 pm

I see what you're saying and I agree. I was just making the point that we need a few more quality players at multiple positions if we are going to compete with and beat the European elite.
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Post by farfan Fri Dec 12, 2014 9:41 pm

they need a killer upfront imo .

it must be frustrating for roma fans to watch that brainless gervinho waste chances and totti not having the legs to impose himself in the box .
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Post by Lupi Sat Dec 13, 2014 1:53 am

I don't agree on mentality change, Roma 2013-14 didnt play in CL, even then we struggled specially in November, it was for injuries and fatigue and we still have the same problem + the defence that once been the team strength turned to its weakness. In transfers we went for potentials that yet to come to fruition so we have the problems of last year and then some more duo to lack of experience and more game play for the starting 11.
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