ROME - AS Roma will start a new era by
playing the "Barcelona brand" of football, the Serie A club's
new coach Luis Enrique told reporters at his official
presentation on Thursday.
The Spaniard, who previously coached Barcelona B before
taking over from Vincenzo Montella last month, said his focus
was to build a young side at the Italian club built on 'values'.
"When I spoke to the directors during contract negotiations,
they told me the idea was to have an attractive side," he told
reporters. "We'll see after a few months if we've achieved this
but I don't know another way of playing."
The former Real Madrid and Barcelona player, whose
hand-picked backroom staff includes former team-mate and Lazio
player Ivan de la Pena, shunned comparisons with Barca coach Pep
Guardiola despite admitting the new Roma would be built close to
the image of Barcelona.
"Guardiola is one of the best coaches in the world," he
said. "He coaches close to the players - almost on the pitch.
I'm just starting my career at Roma and am very far from his
"My own style is like Barcelona's but not exactly the same.
I can't play 4-3-3 if players can't pass the ball but Roma
players can. I want us to keep the ball so our opponents suffer.
That seems like Barcelona but it's not quite the same."
Roma, who will play in the Europa League this season after
finishing a disappointing sixth in Serie A, one place below arch
rivals Lazio, have lost French centre-back Philippe Mexes to
champions AC Milan and Norwegian defender John Arne Riise to
Premier League Fulham.
They have so far brought in teenage Argentine forward Erik
Lamela with Barcelona starlet Bojan Krkic and Sporting Gijon
left-back Jose Angel also expected to arrive.
MONEY TO SPEND
Enrique expects further investment from Thomas DiBenedetto,
the United States businessman whose consortium have a 60 percent
stake in the club following a takeover.
"We don't have a complete squad, so I can't say what are
expectations are for the season," said the 41-year-old who was
questioned on bringing players to Italy from the Spanish league.
"We are trying to bring players in but we need to have
different options. [Sporting Manager, Walter] Sabatini is
working on this. When players come here, they are not Spanish or
Argentines - they are Romans."
Exciting French winger Jeremy Menez, recently linked to
Olympique Marseille, looks destined to move away, but Mirko
Vucinic, another forward criticised by fans last season for his
attitude, could still be part of Enrique's plans.
"I coach. It's up to Sabatini to make a decision on
Vucinic," he said.
After years of uncertainty over the future of debt-ridden
Roma, the new ownership has sparked renewed hope among fans but
Di Benedetto said it would take time to build Roma into serious
title contenders again.
"The talent we are bringing to Rome is high but some players
are very young and hopefully the more experienced will set an
example," he told reporters.
"Like a new child you love, you have to understand that
they may not be quite ready. As the saying goes, Rome wasn't
built in a day."
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