With the drum beating louder and louder for former Roma manager Paulo Fonseca taking over at Tottenham Hotspur, it is time to look at the pros and cons of the appointment.
In seemingly his first act as General Manager, or Director of Football or whatever position, rumored football brain trust Fabio Paratici is taking a chance in his first major decision. Fonseca was the “it” coach two seasons ago, following three straight Ukrainian Premier Liga titles with Shakhtar Donetsk. It was then that AS Roma took the chance on Fonseca to help right a ship that had fallen off course.
After showing improvement in year 1, Roma regressed in year 2 and declined to renew Fonseca’s contract. So what are the pros and cons of a coach who was definitely hot two years ago but has since cooled significantly.
Roma was on the way down when he arrived
Much like Tottenham now, Roma was on the way down when Fonseca arrived. Having finished 3rd in Serie A in 2017/18, Roma had dropped to 6th the season before Fonseca arrived, finishing on 66 points with an 18-12-8 record.
Fonseca did improve Roma in his first season, as they jumped from 6th back to 5th and netted 70 points on a 21-7-10 record. The team’s goal difference had improved by eight to +26. However, injuries and improvement in teams around them saw Roma regress this past season back to 7th.
Tottenham is getting a character in Fonseca
Fonseca is a player’s coach with a personality. Famous for appearing at a press conference in a Zoro outfit following a win in the Champions League over Manchester City, the Portuguese tactician is more than a pretty face.
First and foremost Fonseca is a winner; he has won nine trophies, all since 2012. Starting with success at FC Porto and also winning the Portuguese Cup with SC Braga, which was no small feat.
From Braga, Fonseca moved to Shakhtar Donetsk where he was outstanding over a three-year term. The team won a domestic double all three seasons and even won a domestic treble in 2017/18. After the double in 2018/19, the project was over at Shakhtar which is when Fonseca moved to Roma.
Positives to Paulo Fonseca
Despite the less-than-stellar spell at Roma, there are things to like about Fonseca. He is reportedly a player’s coach, and the players play hard for the man. In terms of things to like about a Fonseca team, the highlights are on the offensive side of the pitch.
Fonseca’s teams are aggressive offensively, with a lot of progressive passing. Expect to see more use of the wide areas and an attempt to possess the ball in the opponent’s half rather than laterally between the backs.
Fonseca plays a 3-4-3 and occasionally a 4-2-3-1. He likes to have his teams play out of the back, inviting pressure and passing through it. At only 48, Fonseca is the kind of younger, attack-minded coach that we know Daniel Levy was looking for. However, Fonseca, the coach is not without holes.