Skip to content

There’s no telling what’s going on with Zdenek Zeman at Roma

Feb 2, 2013, 8:30 AM EDT

Zdenek Zeman AP

There’s a familiar feel to what’s happening at AS Roma right now, and you don’t have to be an expert in all things Giallorossi to feel it. Had you no more than 12 months experience following the club you’d know that the new coach with the nice approach they brought in this year is close to going the way of the new coach with the nice approach they brought in last year.

Then it was Luis Enrique, a man Roma’s new American ownership tasked with bringing Barcelona to the Olimpico. He brought in nice soccer, had a few clashes with veterans, didn’t make Europe and moved on.

Now it’s Zdenek Zeman, the Czech whose intriguing summer return has resulted in the best attack in Italy. But because it has also led to the league’s worst defense and no league wins in over a month, Zeman’s job is under fire.

Yesterday, Roma gave up four at home to Cagliari, who came into the match with one of the worst attacks in Italy. The 4-2 loss keeps Roma in eighth, three points back of a European spot. Couple that with off-the-field conflict and Zeman’s job is under fire.

The new scrutiny actually began last week when a conflict with goalkeeper Maarten Stekelenburg highlighted the issue of discipline within the squad. The concern is one Zeman himself raised in the wake when discussing Stekeleneburg’s criticisms of the club’s transfer policy, specifically the loan acquisition of Uruguayan goalkeeper Mauro Goicoechea:

“I think it was an inopportune interview with many things he got wrong. He is still a Roma player and must be at the disposal of Roma. Don’t forget after the Parma game he was injured for a month,” …

“Unfortunately when there is a lack of discipline, there is a lack of team spirit. It is difficult to work at Roma, especially as journalists tend to write about incidents that occur behind closed doors. We’ve got no rules at the moment and every now and then something happens that shouldn’t.”

The comments elicited a worrying response from sporting director Walter Sabatini: 

“Zeman’s work is satisfying under certain aspects but it is clear that there are less positive things,” …

“It’s time to start asking ourselves some questions and, amongst the considerations, we’ll also think about a change of coach, even if only marginally.

Those concerns seemed to be alleviated after mid-week meetings restored Sabatini’s confidence:

“A doubt had arisen in our minds after his statements on Saturday and we wanted to resolve it,” the official said.

“The doubt was whether he wanted to continue with this team. I speak clearly, we all deepened the talks and are totally satisfied. We are ready to fight our battles together.”

Then came Friday. Roma conceded in the third minute, eventually drew even through Francesco Totti, but went on to concede the next three goals. Now the situation at Roma is being described as the clichéd soccer ‘crisis’, a head shaking description that still seems to encompass the mood around the capital. Like Enrique, Zeman appears to be a very good coach who just is not working in Roma.

Beyond Stekelenburg, the Giallorossi have a very specific squad makeup thanks to the presence of icons Totti and Daniele De Rossi. It was a dynamic with which Enrique struggled (running afoul of Totti early), and with Zeman also experiencing conflict with De Rossi, locker room management also appears to be an ongoing concern.

All of this would be a footnote if Roma was winning, but since they’re not, Sabatini needs to consider why the club is on the verge of another year without European soccer. That evaluation may lead to another coaching change, but facing a second failed attempt to being in a coach that can instill a different style of soccer, Roma’s management may be implicitly allowing their players to pick the coach. That doesn’t seem like a good way to solve a discipline problem.

Latest Posts
  1. Blatter hits back at US Attorney General, says “something smells” about the investigation

    May 30, 2015, 8:24 AM EDT

    Blatter Getty Images

    After winning his fifth term atop FIFA, Sepp Blatter said the United States is overstepping its bounds by arresting members of his organization.

  2. Hyndman stars as U.S. U-20 team downs Myanmar 2-1 to open World Cup play

    May 30, 2015, 7:38 AM EDT

    Hyndman Getty Images

    The Fulham midfielder returned from injury to assist the opener and score the winner in a 2-1 victory.

  3. Three things we learned from Sporting KC’s 4-0 thrashing of FC Dallas

    May 30, 2015, 12:48 AM EDT

    Krisztian Nemeth, Sporting Kansas City Krisztian Nemeth, Sporting Kansas City

    Three talking points from the latest installment of MLS’s “Viernes de Futbol.”

  4. WATCH: Krisztian Nemeth’s header puts Sporting KC ahead of FC Dallas, 1-0, at the half

    May 29, 2015, 10:01 PM EDT

    Sporting Kansas City v Houston Dynamo Getty Images

    Watch the lone first-half goal of the Sporting KC-FC Dallas match, televised on UniMas tonight.

  5. IRS official says more indictments to come in FIFA case

    May 29, 2015, 9:39 PM EDT

    Sepp Blatter, FIFA president Sepp Blatter, FIFA president

    An important I.R.S official told The New York Times that more indictments in the FIFA corruption investigation will be released.

  6. Orlando City SC announce private funding of new stadium, increased capacity

    May 29, 2015, 7:16 PM EDT

    LA Galaxy at Orlando City LA Galaxy at Orlando City

    Orlando City SC made a big announcement earlier today regarding the future of the club.

  7. Neymar’s former club, Santos, to sue over transfer to Barcelona

    May 29, 2015, 6:34 PM EDT

    AP

    Barcelona has yet to pay the remaining 83 million euros of Neymar’s transfer fee, and his former club, Santos, will sue.

  8. Men in Blazers podcast: Rog talks with U.S. U-20 head coach Tab Ramos ahead of World Cup

    May 29, 2015, 5:41 PM EDT

    meninblazers

    The Men and Blazers speak with U.S. U-20 head man Tab Ramos ahead of the 2015 U-20 World Cup in New Zealand.

  9. FA chairman Greg Dyke: Sepp Blatter’s full term will not last, out in two years

    May 29, 2015, 5:05 PM EDT

    greg_dyke Getty Images

    FA chairman Greg Dyke thinks Sepp Blatter’s fifth term of FIFA presidency won’t last.

  10. 2014 MLS Cup rematch: For the New England Revolution, it’s a new season, different game against LA Galaxy

    May 29, 2015, 4:10 PM EDT

    2014 MLS Cup - New England Revolution v Los Angeles Galaxy Getty Images

    On Fox Sports 1 this Sunday, the New England Revolution face LA Galaxy in a 2014 MLS Cup rematch.

  11. 2014-15 Premier League season review: PST’s Best XI of the Season

    May 29, 2015, 3:30 PM EDT

    Chelsea v Southampton - Premier League Getty Images

    Chelsea’s title-winning team dominates our picks. But there are still plenty of surprise inclusions.

  12. Leaves jail in ambulance, gives speech hours later: Jack Warner knows no FIFA scandal

    May 29, 2015, 3:20 PM EDT

    Trinidad and Tobago's National Security Minister Jack Warner talks with journalists after a meeting with residents in Port of Spain

    As the soccer world continues to react to Sepp Blatter’s fifth-term as FIFA president, his 72-year-old former VP is basically telling the law to take a long walk off a short pier.

  13. Blatter’s “Wolf of Wall Street” moment could play out the exact same way

    May 29, 2015, 2:05 PM EDT

    Nominee for Best Actor in "The Wolf of Wall Street" Leonardo DiCaprio arrives on the red carpet for the 86th Academy Awards on March 2nd, 2014 in Hollywood, California. AFP PHOTO / Robyn BECK        (Photo credit should read ROBYN BECK/AFP/Getty Images) Getty Images

    We’re in the shadow of just one rushed afternoon, and the FBI and others are watching the money float off the yacht, hoping to strike.

  14. 2014-15 Premier League season review: PST’s Manager of the Season

    May 29, 2015, 2:00 PM EDT

    Southampton v Aston Villa - Premier League Getty Images

    This award went down to the final vote. Do you agree with our pick?

  15. Sepp Blatter wins first vote 133-73, but not by enough to avoid second vote

    May 29, 2015, 1:02 PM EDT

    ZURICH, SWITZERLAND - MAY 29:  FIFA President Joseph S. Blatter talks during the 65th FIFA Congress at the Hallenstadion on May 29, 2015 in Zurich, Switzerland.  (Photo by Mike Hewitt - FIFA/FIFA via Getty Images) Getty Images

    There were 209 votes, and nations could abstain from voting as well.

  16. FA Cup final preview: Aston Villa underdogs in Arsenal’s pursuit of back-to-back cups

    May 29, 2015, 12:47 PM EDT

    Can the Gunners win a second-straight FA Cup? Sherwood’s Villa stand in the way.

  17. Report: Benteke has $50 million release clause, Liverpool ready to trigger

    May 29, 2015, 12:17 PM EDT

    It's two in two for Christian Benteke, who scored Villa's second against Liverpool Getty Images

    Aston Villa is hoping to keep the 24-year-old Belgian, who has scored 49 goals in 99 matches since coming to the England from Genk in 2012.

Featured video

PST Extra reviews the 2014-15 season