How Montella’s short spell could benefit Roma

It is a tacit agreement that Vincenzo Montella, the youngest Coach in Serie A and making his debut by necessity, is only there to patch things up until the arrival of Carlo Ancelotti (and, some are hoping, a new management). This begs the question of what objectives the aimless ship of the Giallorossi should be aiming to. Only last year, the answer would have been Champions League qualification. Now, with German football having outclassed the Italians in the UEFA rankings, the direct competitors appear inaccessible. Even if the fight had been about the fourth rather than the third place, Roma would likely have had to bid farewell to the most prestigious club tournament.
Even though the general discontent, Roma fans should perhaps be grateful to the Germans, especially if Ancelotti does turn out to be their Coach after the summer. Exclusion from the Champions League may be a blessing in disguise. Though this may sound controversial, the most immediate benefit would be an economic one, at a time when an immediate injection of cash is not the most urgent requirement for the whole AS Roma society at present. What they rather need is a renewed sense of vision – the calling for a new management reflects the feeling that the current team lack spirit more than funds.
Bizarre as this could appear, reducing Roma’s short-term perspectives would likely improve their performances under a fresh management, just because it simplifies their targets. All of this is conditional to Ancelotti’s arrival, obviously, but the advantages in terms of domestic performance which are to be reaped by international exclusion are demonstrable. Roma’s season last year under Ranieri should be sufficient proof. Freed by the pressures of Champions League football, and with the possibility of funnelling all energies and concentration on Sunday-to-Sunday games, the Giallorossi went far.
Two things should be kept in mind about Roma next year. Firstly, if the American investors do take centre-stage, then the loss of income represented by the European tournament will be more than compensated for. Secondly, the team already have a number of very solid elements. It doesn’t have to be reconstructed from scratch, and maximising the potential of what is already there is arguably more important than injecting new crude resources.
With this in mind, and given the Chelsea Coach’s introduction, if Ancelotti has no other commitment for his first season than Serie A, then his chances of success are significantly increased. By extension, the team’s long-term chances of earning – and staying in – the Champions League are also greater. Though the conditions we are describing are anything but cast in stone, should they come to pass, Roma would become an instant favourite for next year’s Scudetto.
Everybody wishes Montella the best of course. But perhaps the best results for him as a Coach could not necessarily mean the best for the team. Failing to conquer a spot in the Champions League, which is highly likely, and highlighting the team’s gravest structural failings through a number of relatively harmless defeats (in the long term, at least), could well set up the team for a very positive new cycle. The future looks brighter than Ranieri’s despairing resignation may suggest. Whatever the result tonight against Bologna, Roma are set to win.

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