A Spaniard, a Czech and a French. AS Rome is out from European Cups once again but has a track record of hiring foreigner head coaches. Until now, it didn’t work as Roma enjoyed no success during last two campaigns.
The young and smart Luis Enrique were the first one. A brilliant mind with the goal to change Italian football culture introducing a tiki-taka, Barcelona style brend of football in the land of Catenaccio. Luis Enrique left after just one season in charge following a lot of criticism about his possession-based football that never worked in Italy. Then, there was Zdenek Zeman, already a former coach with Roma, an attacking obsessed manager faithful to his 4-3-3 despite players’ skills and a prophet of football entertainment. But Zeman project too failed.
Now, Roma brought on former Lilla’s boss RudiGarcia and made him its third consecutive foreign manager in a two seasons span. Since Garcia arrived in 2008, Lille has been in the top five of Ligue 1. France loved his attacking philosophy and the the achievement he reached when he lead Lilla to their first league title after 57 years. His 4-3-3 turned Lille into a scoring machine built around an attacking trio featuring young stars such as Gervinho, Eden Hazard and Moussa Sow. That trio lead comparison between Lilla and Barcelona as Lille’s men up front loved interchange positions with each other.
After his league and French Cup double, caming by beating Paris Saint-Germain at Stade de France, Hazard, Adil Rami, Yohan Cabaye, Gervinho and Sow all left but Garcia still was able to reach high standard with the roster at disposal. Can his success at Lille work in Rome? Can his 4-3-3 made the team turnaround that didn’t happen under the previous regime?
Differently to Zeman, Garcia’s 4-3-3 usually line up a defensive midfielder in front of defence instead of a regista. That could make an end to Daniele De Rossi dilemma. Captain Future went from playing like a deep-lying midfielder to being an interior holding midfielder in Zeman’s three-man midfield. This switch broke the relationship between him and the Czech’s manager as the player wanted to play in front of the defence as a true Regista a la Andrea Pirlo. But honestly he wasn’t suited to act out a role that he never played and he wasn’t able to orchestrate Roma’s play during Luis Enrique’s era. So Zeman simply tried to bring him back to his ancient role but this effort didn’t pay as his performances remained poor.
Up front, as we said, players as Ronny Rodelin, Salomon Kalou and Dimitri Payet were interchanging their positions such as Gervinho, Hazard and Sow did. Rome has Erik Lamela that has the skills to play an Hazard-role. He has played on the right wing position the most and he likes drift into the middle side every time he can. He had his best season last campaign scoring 15 goals in 33 games played. Lamela could play the right wing position in Garcia’s 4-3-3 assuming he will stay as Manchester City is monitoring him since Roberto Mancini’s days.
As centre-forward, with Pablo Osvaldo probably out of this project, Garcia could still employ Francesco Totti that is caming from his best season in recent years. Totti has shown to be able to adapt to his manager requests, being lined up as attacking midfielder, centre forward or left wide. As centre forward Totti was highly effective moving up and down to get the defence out of shape.
Lille’s forwards get support from inside-midfielders while overlapping fullbacks provide width. Michael Bradley and Miralem Pjanic could play the interior midfielder roles. Both impressed when they had the opportunity to play in the middle of the pitch alongside De Rossi. Vasilis Torosidis could start as right back while Garcia has to find a leftback able to reply the level of success Lucas Digne had with Lille.