The coup of hiring Monchi as sporting director demonstrates the extent of Roma’s ambition, according to coach Luciano Spalletti, who claimed finishing second will be like winning the Scudetto.
Monchi has been appointed at Stadio Olimpico after ending his long association with Sevilla, a club the former goalkeeper transformed into a genuine LaLiga and European force during his 17 years behind the scenes.
Addressing the media ahead of a crunch Serie A showdown with AC Milan on Sunday, Spalletti praised Roma’s chairman for snaring one of the game’s most sought-after administrators.
“[James] Pallotta went to get the best, this makes his intentions clear,” he said.
“What he [Monchi] said about us is pleasing, a clean vision that comes from the outside, not sullied by what people say around us. He looked around and said: ‘It seems to me that, all told, Roma are doing a good job.’
“Clearly there are things we try to improve, but he expressed a positive opinion and that is how they see us from the outside. I am glad to work with Monchi, he’s the best director out there.”
— AS Roma English (@ASRomaEN) May 6, 2017
Roma, second in the table, lost the derby 3-1 to Lazio last weekend and are now just one point ahead of third-placed Napoli, as the two clubs battle to secure automatic qualification to the Champions League group stage, behind runaway leader Juventus.
“Try asking… the seven or eight teams behind us whether finishing third is a failure,” Spalletti said of the prospect of having to settle for a spot in play-offs.
“Juventus have made it clear that nobody can get near first place… we are fighting it out with Napoli, who many say are one of the strongest sides in Europe.
“They had this position last season, they are the reigning holders of second place. If we are threatening their spot, it means we have done well.
“We are not afraid to come up against Milan or Juventus, so that is what makes the difference. We reached this point with our own hard work.
“If we finish second, it’ll be like winning the Scudetto. Finishing third means we’ve done a great job. We continue working to give Roma and its fans an international visibility. Third place is a noble position.”
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