De Rossi at AS Roma: How the Lupi legend has breathed fresh life into the Giallorossi’s season

Former captain Daniele De Rossi has revived AS Roma since replacing Jose Mourinho as coach in January, with the ex-midfielder's calm approach and tactical awareness key to the turn around.


Having been thrown into the role on an interim basis in January, Daniele De Rossi can do little more to convince that he has ready to take on the position of AS Roma coach on a full time basis after a magnificent start to life on the Stadio Olimpico bench.

The former club captain was handed the reins after Jose Mourinho was sacked following a 3-1 defeat to AC Milan on Matchday 20, leaving Roma languishing in eighth place in the Serie A table. The Lupi had also scraped through a relatively agreeable Europa League group in second place, and were tamely eliminated from the Coppa Italia by Lazio.

Fast forward two months and the Giallorossi are in rude health again thanks to the huge impact of De Rossi and a return to the Champions League for the first time since 2018-19 is back on the cards for the capital club.

AS Roma coach Daniele De Rossi greets supporters (@OfficialASRoma)

De Rossi the perfect tonic to Mourinho dramatics

As has so often been the case throughout his career, Mourinho seemed to be losing his grip on Roma as he entered his third season at the helm and a visibly unhappy dressing room was no longer performing for the Portuguese tactician.

Regular outbursts against match officials and the club hierarchy became tiresome and Mourinho appeared to have lost the faith of the Giallorossi’s decision-makers with his antics, as well as his alienation of sections of the squad.

Despite being a tenacious and grizzled central midfielder during his 18-year career with the Giallorossi, De Rossi the coach has employed a more personal and gentle approach and it is paying dividends.

Restoring confidence and improving morale has been essential to the rapid turnaround in fortunes and a focus on attacking football has seen the more creative players in the squad given licence to work their magic. This was most evident in a 4-0 annihilation of Brighton in the Europa League, as the coach outsmarted Roberto De Zerbi and offered a tactical masterclass to his fellow Italian.

The focus on playing attractive football and a shift to a four-man defence has given Roma a platform to climb up the Serie A table, and De Rossi‘s first 12 matches in all competitions have yielded seven wins, a draw, and just one defeat. The defeat came against champions-elect Inter.

Outcasts key to AS Roma’s return to form

Key to Roma‘s revival has been the return to form of players who had looked lost in the final weeks of Mourinho‘s tenure and De Rossi has found a way to bring the best out of his squad.

Leandro Paredes has established himself as a lynchpin in midfield after a series of underwhelming displays before the arrival of the new coach, and former teammate from his first spell at Roma, and the Argentine is finding his feet again.

Having sat much deeper under Mourinho and struggled to influence games, Paredes‘ move forward has allowed him to control matches with his range of passing and ability to serve as an outlet, and despite a leggy display against Fiorentina he is steadily improving.

Similarly, De Rossi has managed to get a tune out of Houssem Aouar, Leonardo Spinazzola and Sardar Azmoun after limited impact earlier in the season, whilst the promotion of Mile Svilar as first-choice goalkeeper has been an excellent, if necessary, choice in place of the floundering Rui Patricio.

AS Roma’s Paulo Dybala celebrates with Daniele De Rossi. [@OfficialASRoma]

Dazzling Dybala dragging AS Roma forward

Aside from compatriot Lautaro Martinez at Inter, nobody is enjoying such stunning form in Serie A at the moment as Argentina forward Paulo Dybala and he has carried this Roma side at times.

The former Juventus man is in the most productive run of his career and has supplied eight goals and an assist since De Rossi took over, confirming that even with his troublesome injury record he is one of the most gifted players in Italian football.

De Rossi certainly knows a thing or two about geniuses in forward roles, having spent most of his career behind Francesco Totti, and has given Dybala the freedom to play his own game and focus solely on creating chance after chance for the Lupi.

A return to the Champions League may be crucial to convincing Dybala to commit his future to the club and with De Rossi‘s guidance, the 30-year-old is certainly living up to his side of the bargain.


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