Fonseca takes blame after second-half collapse at Man Utd

Roma succumbed to an agonising 6-2 defeat to Manchester United in the first leg of their Europa League semi-final.

A game that was always going to be tough became even harder when Roma lost three of their most important players – Jordan Veretout, Pau Lopez and Leonardo Spinazzola- to injury in the first half. But there was a glimmer of hope when they came from behind to go 2-1 up by the break, thanks to goals from Lorenzo Pellegrini and Edin Dzeko.

Unable to make any more changes in the second half, though, things caught up with Roma and they conceded five more to all but end their hopes of reaching the final. It isn’t over yet, but it will be a serious uphill struggle in the return leg next week.

Here’s what Paulo Fonseca said after the match.

On issues in the second half

“We were up against it a bit, because we lost three players to injury and so we couldn’t make any more substitutions. Later on both Amadou Diawara and Chris Smalling were battling issues. So it was a really tough second half for us.”

On how this affects the overall work in the Europa League this season

“It’s a big positive to have reached the semi-finals, and the first half performance shows that the squad can fight with anyone – but in the second half we got it all wrong.”

On defending deeper in the second half

“We tried to – but when you have the ball, you need to try to attack. We couldn’t bounce back after United’s third goal and without being able to make any substitutions it became too tough.”

On who is to blame

“I am always the first person responsible. In every moment. I don’t want to make excuses. I’m just analysing what happened during the game. I won’t shy away from my responsibility.”

On how to prepare for the second leg

“It’s hard to know, we don’t even know right now which players we will have available for the next game. Right now what is important is to make sure we can have as many players as possible back for the next match. That’s what I’m worried about right now.”

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