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Fonseca backs Mourinho to thrive at Roma

Rome (AFP) – Paulo Fonseca has backed Jose Mourinho to thrive at Roma when the former Tottenham boss replaces him as manager at the end of this season.

Mourinho signed a three-year contract on Tuesday and will take charge of the Serie A club after Fonseca sees out the current campaign.

Sacked after just 17 months at Tottenham and also dismissed in his two previous jobs at Manchester United and Chelsea, Mourinho has been labelled a managerial dinosaur on the verge of extinction.

He fell out with several senior players at Tottenham and reportedly left the squad bored with his rigid tactics and training sessions.

Despite those criticisms, Fonseca insists the former Champions League winner can make a big impact on under-performing Roma, who are currently seventh in Serie A.

“Mourinho is a great coach, everyone knows that, and I am sure he will do a great job here,” Fonseca said.

Mourinho, who won the treble with Inter Milan in 2010, had only been out of work for 15 days after leaving Tottenham before his return to Serie A was announced.

Fonseca dismissed talk of his impending arrival being a distraction.

“For me, professionalism is something I believe is very important,” he said.

“I am OK, I am focused on things here just like I was the very first day I got here.

“I am motivated. I want to do the best I can for Roma for as long as I am still here.”

But it is hardly ideal preparation for Thursday’s Europa League semi-final second leg against Manchester United in Rome.

United are on the brink of reaching the final in Gdansk after thrashing Roma 6-2 in last week’s semi-final first leg at Old Trafford.

“Clearly it is not easy to beat Manchester United by four goals, but I have seen a lot of things happen in football,” Fonseca said about Roma’s comeback chances.

“Nothing is impossible. I believe that anything can happen.

“I’m expecting a tough game. Going up against Manchester United is always very difficult.

“They have a good first-leg advantage but we want to win the game. We want to fight until the very end.”

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