After watching from the sideline as his new charges struggled this past Friday in a preseason friendly against Valencia, Roma manager Luis Enrique voiced his displeasure with crucial mistakes committed by his side—feeling that they had failed to deliver a quality performance. Enrique had this to say about the match to Il Corriere dello Sport:
"The first two goals came from childish errors and [in] these games you cannot gift opposition of Valencia's level these kind of things. If you are not 100% focused then you run many risks in games like these, especially against Valencia who were better than us. We must improve in many areas and there is still plenty of work to do as we did not play like a team. We have to attack and defend as a team. If we cannot do this then we will not win."
With the exception of the young Jose Angel—acquired from Sporting de Gijon earlier this summer—Roma's defense lacked pace, providing little in the way of attacking industry.
The positioning of the central defense was often questionable—if not horrid—throughout the match, but the overcrowding to the right side of the pitch that allowed Roberto Soldado enough space to net an uncontested goal in the 37th minute was nothing short of humiliating.
A very heavy statement considering that Roma had already conceded after Frederico Viviani tapped into his own net.
The link-up play provided by former Real Madrid defender Cicinho—who put in a good performance—was a plus, but that does not change the fact that Roma is a side steeped with defensive depth, but lacking in quality.
Marco Borriello—a natural center forward—looked to be completely out of his element during the match, as he was isolated on the right flank with alarming regularity.
His lack of creativity from that position was glaring, and he lacked the pace necessary for good wing play—rendering him unsuitable for the position, and perhaps making the former Milan man surplus to requirements in Enrique's new system.
In fact, Borriello’s greatest contribution came in a defensive effort, as he blocked a Valencia shot on the edge of the penalty area midway through the first half. He represents a bit of a dilemma for the Giallorossi—a €10 million signing clearly destined for the bench due to his oft-noted tendency of petulant behavior and ineffective performance on the pitch.
Fast and showing spurts of attacking menace throughout his time on the pitch, €12 million off-season acquisition Bojan Krkic was arguably Roma's Man of the Match.
However, consistency will be paramount, and the Catalan has a history of lacking in that department.
Still, watching him link up fairly well with the ageless Francesco Totti during the match augured good omens for the approaching season. Krkic's sizzling drive off the post on 50 minutes was a flash of the young player's infinite potential.
An embarrassing 3-0 thrashing in a friendly—though difficult to swallow—is by no means cause to renounce affiliation with the club entirely or set memorabilia ablaze.
But if management fail to take anything away from this experience, and fail to move forward, disappointment seems certain to set in.
The Valencia match showed that Roma are in need of at least two quality defenders and perhaps a veteran winger to complement the youthful flair of Krkic and Argentine wunderkind Eric Lamela, who was absent from the match.
Still, the Roma ultras must be wondering…
What will sporting director Walter Sabatini do to improve the side?