Eusebio Di Francesco

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Roma boss pens vivid 3,000-word open letter to fans

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Some fan bases probably wish their owner was as open as AS Roma’s James Pallotta, who has written a few thousand words on the struggles of i Lupi this season.

We can’t attest to how Roma’s supporters feel about Friday’s open letter, but neutrals will at the very least find entertainment in the American billionaire’s strong stance, vivid descriptions, and occasional NSFW language.

[ MORE: 3 key battles in UCL Final ]

Oh, and his defiance, via ASRoma.com:

“I understand the history of almost 3,000 years of Rome and I know how this works. If people think they’re going to drive me out, it’s just not going to happen.”

Pallotta has made no secret of his displeasure with Roma’s season, as the club finished sixth in Serie A and bowed out of the Champions League in the Round of 16.

That’s a far cry from last season, in which Roma came within one goal of stunning Liverpool in the UCL semifinal second leg and steadily rose up the table after a slow start.

This season saw the firing of the manager who engineered that rise, a sloppy handling of the end of club legend Daniele De Rossi’s tenure, and the maddening but necessary departure of a sporting director who Pallotta later claimed “had no Plan B.”

Pallotta, to his credit, is owning it. He’s putting plenty of blame on Monchi — now sporting director of Sevilla — who he brands “a mistake” without explicitly naming him, even in the removal of Di Francesco later in the season.

When things were going sideways, Di Francesco told us he may have lost the dressing room and if we think it’s time for him to go, then he will go without a fight. Di Francesco has always been first-class. He is a true gentleman. He was clearly put in what I think was a tough position this past year and was collateral damage. That’s something that we all regret.

Roma is without a manager now, but all is not lost; Roma finished three points out of third and scored the fourth-most goals in the league. It’s aging roster would look a lot better if Cenzig Under, Nicolo Zaniolo, and Justin Kluivert took the next steps in their development, which makes the next choice as manager even more crucial to the short-, medium- and long-term.

Roma fires Eusebio Di Francesco amidst Ranieri reports

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AS Roma has fired manager Eusebio Di Francesco in the wake of a UEFA Champions League exit and league loss to rivals Lazio.

[ MORE: 2nd leg recap ]

“On behalf of myself and everyone at AS Roma, I’d like to thank Eusebio for his work and his commitment,” said Roma chairman Jim Pallotta. “Since returning to the club, Eusebio has always acted professionally and put the club’s needs ahead of his own. We all wish him well for the future.”

Di Francesco led Roma to a third-place finish last season and a berth in the UEFA Champions League semifinals. This year, i Lupi is in a battle for third and exited the UCL in the Round of 16, falling to Porto on Wednesday.

It’s a bit harsh on the former Roma player, who took over a club that sold Mohamed Salah and Antonio Rudiger and watched as Alisson Becker and Radja Nainngolan were sold this summer.

Claudio Ranieri is a rumored replacement for Di Francesco.

Reports: Roma seeks Ranieri to replace Di Francesco

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AS Roma is taking a “What have you done for me lately?” approach to its managerial position after losing to Porto in the UEFA Champions League Round of 16.

[ MORE: 2nd leg recap ]

A semifinalist one season ago, Eusebio Di Francesco will reportedly be fired by i Lupi after coughing up a 2-1 first leg lead in Portugal on Thursday.

And a former Premier League champion may be first in line to replace him.

Claudio Ranieri is the favorite to replace Di Francesco, and there’s talk that a managerial change could happen very soon despite some pleas to keep the current manager until the end of the Serie A season.

Cristian Panucci and Roberto Donadoni are also named as potential successors to Di Francesco.

Roma sold Alisson Becker, Radja Nainngolan, and Kevin Strootman last summer, and Mohamed Salah, Antonio Rudiger, and Leandro Paredes the prior summer.

Di Francesco led a 3rd place Serie A run last season, losing in the Coppa Italia Round of 16, and the UCL semifinals v. Liverpool. This season, Roma is again battling for third, and lost in the Coppa’s quarterfinals, and UCL Round of 16.

Ranieri was fired by Fulham last month as the Premier League outfit labors in the relegation zone, and served in the same position at Nantes after leading Leicester City to its amazing PL title.

He’s played and managed Roma, leading a Serie A title push for the club in 2010 (ultimately falling short to Inter Milan).

The firing would be harsh on Di Francesco, who came within an extra time penalty of penalty kicks and another UCL quarterfinal. He would become one of the top available managers on the market.

Roma boss Di Francesco worried after late win

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Edin Dzeko saved Roma in the 95th minute, sealing a 3-2 win over Frosinone and moving the club back to within a point of a Champions League place. Roma manager Eusebio Di Francesco wasn’t having it.

“We can’t keep getting away with this type of performance,” Di Francesco said to the media after the game.

[ MORE: Serie A recap as Roma and Torino win ]

Despite its solid league position down the stretch of the season, the club has looked shaky at times. On Saturday, the defense put forth a calamitous performance at the back filled with mistakes, bad passes, poor marking, and questionable decision-making. The game was tied 2-2 for most of the second half with Roma’s relegation-threatened opponents nearly pulling out a win if it wasn’t for goalkeeper Robin Olsen’s spectacular save.

“The positive from this evening is that we won, but I do hope he can start to play much better football from now on,” Di Francesco said. “The second goal came from our own set play and our positioning was off, Daniele De Rossi misread the situation.”

“Frosinone are scrapping for every point to secure safety and I know what that is like. We made too many mistakes and should’ve approached the game better, as we risked a draw or even a defeat. We always find a way to make life more complicated for ourselves with distractions.”

Frosinone’s first goal came from a mistake by Steven N’Zonzi, whose back-pass to no one was intercepted by Camillo Ciano who scored despite a great save attempt by Olsen. The hosts scored their second on the break as De Rossi and Aleksandr Kolarov were torn apart on the break despite a one-on-two advantage for the defenders.

“We had the game in hand and should’ve finished it off rather than just tried to control it. We’ve shown over the season that we are a team capable of scoring goals, but also of conceding them. We’ve got to improve.”

Despite the poor defensive performance, the attack played spectacular at times, with Stephan El Shaarawy the star and Dzeko a force. Dzeko was on hand to bundle in the winner five minutes into stoppage time as El Shaarawy lofted a short cross over a defender and into the chest of the Bosnian striker.

Roma confines players to training ground after poor results

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Reports have surfaced that Italian club AS Roma has taken the rare step of confining its players to the training ground for the next few days after a run of poor results has left the side seventh in the Serie A table.

On Saturday, Roma held a 2-0 lead over 13th-placed Cagliari and coughed up that lead, conceding a 95th minute equalizer despite seeing the opponents reduced to just nine men two minutes prior.

According to both Sky Italia and Gianluca di Marzio, and later confirmed by Roma Radio, the club has decided to keep all players locked in the training ground for a “training retreat” through Wednesday’s Champions League fixture against Victoria Plzen. The reports state the measure is less of a concentration on the midweek fixture and more of a strictly punitive measure, as the Champions League match is meaningless, having already confirmed a spot in the knockout stage.

The reports also discuss the job security of manager Eusebio Di Francesco, with the 49-year-old reportedly safe for now, although he apparently does appear to be drawing the ire of president Jim Palotta, while currently maintaining the backing of highly regarded sporting director Monchi.

Di Francesco was furious with his team after the match on Saturday, throwing the players under the bus for mistakes on the field, and suggesting they ignored his instructions. “My team tried to kill the game off for 70 minutes and I get angry when I see some of the mistakes we make,” he told the official Roma website after the match, “when players make the wrong choice and go for goal instead of passing to a team-mate. That leads to situations like this. It’s absurd. I don’t even want to talk about tactics. We had some highly experienced players out there today who should never concede a goal like that.”

The boss then suggested he may have to get harsh on the players, possibly foreshadowing the decision to hold the retreat. “We’ve used the carrot and the stick already this season,” Di Francesco said. “I didn’t have many options today. I had lots of kids on the bench plus [Javier] Pastore and [Diego] Perotti, who aren’t at their best. When Cagliari equalized we had five experienced defenders on the pitch. Sometimes there’s little for the coach to explain. I do have to take responsibility, though. I’m absolutely gutted about this result. It was in our hands. It was an absurd game: you can’t concede an equalizer in the last 30 seconds playing 11 v nine.”

Roma has won just once in its last seven Serie A matches, with losses to bottom-half sides SPAL and Udinese in that span as well. That, coupled with a similar four-match winless run earlier in the season, has left the club in a precarious position for Champions League qualification next season, sitting four points back of fourth-placed AC Milan and eight behind third-placed Inter.