The Coppa is gone; old Roma remains

Posted by Julian De Martinis

Roma lost the Coppa Italia final to Lazio. The end.

This is the way the season ends - not with a bang, but with a whimper. And Daniele De Rossi crying.

Lazio's lone goal - somewhat fortuitous in nature but entirely deserved in balance - was enough to end a game that was, in all aspects, rather dire. Neither side wanted to lose, both pinning all of their hopes of European qualification and salvaging a season in one match. Thus, neither side truly played.

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Miralem Pjanic's absence, given his continuing ankle problems, made total sense but there was definitely a sense about the starting eleven that something was off. Alessandro Florenzi never made it off the bench and Daniele De Rossi/Michael Bradley had decent games individually but still seem to lack the chemistry to make the duo a solid base for a 4-2-3-1. Aurelio Andreazzoli lost the coaching battle tonight, and with it, probably any chance for the job he so badly desires next season.

It's difficult to write about this match because the loss was so predictable and the problems that haunted the club continue to do so. I'm less interested in describing this game as wondering what it means for the future. The ownership has changed, the players have changed, the coaches have changed, but the underperformance still remains. In this sense, the loss may have greater long term benefits: it's not sugarcoating what was another year zero. Another year where performance didn't match potential.

Heading into the summer, Baldini, Sabatini and Pallotta simply have to get it right. Year three of the project cannot be like years one and two. A coach needs to be brought in who knows how to win and can transform the mentality of the side; based on this coach's desire, the right personnel have to be acquired as well. If Zdenek Zeman requires a regista, why let David Pizarro go and thrust the team upon Panagiotis Tachtsidis? Andreazzoli, coming in as a mid-season replacement, had no say in personnel issues but also failed to motivate them to win when it truly mattered, which has practically been the mantra of this club since the Luciano Spalletti days.

If this loss is the death of the weight around Roma's neck, consider the tears of the players a payment towards the future. A project without a plan is no project at all.

In the days to come, I'll be looking back on the highs and lows of this season as well as writing about what the club should do this summer. Today, I don't feel much like writing more. I'm just resigned to having witnessed Roma fail as Roma all too often do.

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